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Doubling up his Membership

Heroes Remember

Doubling up his Membership

We flew into the Middle East and landed at a base called Fayid. And now I had been screened but because I was the navigation and bombing leader for the squadron, I asked the station commander if I could stay on rather than have a change of command at a critical time. They agreed that I could stay on and this is how I went with them down and I took the crew and the air craft to the Middle East at that time. And it was in the Middle East where I would fly whenever there was something special on or anything because I wasn’t normally on another tour. And it was there that I became a member of the Caterpillar Club and the Wing Boot Club, the only three clubs that existed in the RAF and by ‘42 I belonged to them all where I had been shot down at Tobruk in the Med. I had had to swim from midnight to dawn naked to reach shore just outside of Tobruk where the Germans were holding and I had to hide out for four days without food or water until I felt I couldn’t last any longer if I didn’t do something. As I say, I didn’t have to fly, I was supposed to be screened. But we had some new squadron members and unless those new squadron members could get their flights in and reach their tour, they were going to be hung up in the Middle East for a long time and the people who had come out with the squadron were all experienced people so they were sort of going to finish their flying before the new members would get much chance and I pushed the basis that some of this sort of senior captains should be taking inexperienced crew to give them the chance to get their flights in. And on this particular occasion I talked the flight commander into the basis that he should do this and when he finally said okay he would do it but he wanted his own engineer, flight engineer and I said fair ball, since I’ve pushed the subject I’ll be your navigator and bomb aimer on your flight and we’ll take the rest of the crew as newcomers. He said okay and I think he showed me how good he could do his job and how well he could run a bombing trip. And it ended up by us being shot by flak, we were in search lights, of course, and the flak hit us just as I dropped the bombs on Tobruk and the aircraft, really things started to fall apart.

Requesting to stay with his crew, Mr. Watts find himself involved in dangerous operations which result in his membership to the Caterpillar Club and Wing Boot Club.

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

Copyright / Permission to Reproduce

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