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Experiencing a Suicide Raid (Part 2 of 2)

Heroes Remember

Experiencing a Suicide Raid (Part 2 of 2)

The second night we went it was exactly the same format, a beautiful kind of night, moonlight, clear down the fjord and a fighter picked us up. We were in search lights at that point so the only thing I could do as far as I was concerned was there was no way we could sort of manoeuvre away from the fighter so what we did took them down on the dive to the 150 foot level, headed in towards this small fjord and at this point the Germans knew there was no smoke at that point so they were firing from both sides of the fjord, the ship was firing up the middle and it was just a mass of anti-aircraft fire over the ship and I said to my pilot, “We’ll go down and through and the fighter won’t follow us because he’s not going to go into that mess.” Well we went through but it wasn’t a good bombing run because we were really just getting rid of the fighter so I said in effect “Dummy run,” I’m not going to drop. So we pulled up, went around a second time. Well, we must have been one of the first ones in, down that first run because we could see the ship and the ship there, both the fore and aft part of the ship had been covered with camouflage to disguise the shape and the size of the ship and this would be sort of protecting them from photographic evidence and trying to prevent them from being attacked. And it was covered with this when we went through the first, pulled up, by the time we came back on the second run, came down to 150 feet and went into the fjord, we had a clear run, dropped our weapons behind the ship, pulled up and at that point the camouflage had been just torn apart, it was in shreds so obviously explosions had taken place close enough to that aspect so we saw at least two ships get shot down, two aircraft and one of them was our squadron commander who happened to be DCT Bennett who had been the man running the cross-Alantic ferry and he was my squadron commander at that point and he and his co-pilot were able to escape and get to Sweden on foot after they had crashed. Another one of our air crew landed on the ice, he couldn’t go any further, he had been run, he landed on the ice. They had gone off across the ice and they made their way through into Sweden except one of them who had broken his ankle in the crash so he was a POW but we lost about fifty percent basically of the personnel of the squadron. And I don’t think we put the Tirpitz out of action despite, I don’t think the weapons were effective enough. So it was a gallant suicidal effort but I don’t think it did too well.

On the second attempt at sinking the Turpitz, Mr Watts recalls the devastation and loss of crew notwithstanding a gallant effort.

Jack Watts

Jack Vincent Watts was born on November 10, 1920, and was raised in Hamilton, Ontario, where he enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force on July 2, 1940. He flew on Royal Air Force squadrons throughout his wartime service, serving with squadrons 10, 462, 109 and 105. He finished the war as a squadron leader and received the Distinguished Service Order (DSO), the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) and Bar. He retired as a brigadier-general in 1975. On his return to Canada after the war, he played in the Canadian Football League with the Hamilton Tigers and the Wildcats. He moved to Ottawa for his service career, and resided there with his war bride, Norma Zelia, formerly of Coventry, England.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
June 1, 2012
Person Interviewed:
Jack Watts
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Air Force
Bomber Command

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