Language selection

A Building in the Distance

Heroes Remember

A Building in the Distance

I knew now that I was in enemy territory, I had these rocks in front of me. I lifted a little look and far back on the shore on a bit of a rise there was a bit of a tower where there was obviously a shore watch type thing and way over on the one side on the left there was low sort of cement type building. There were people around it, there was a little bit of smoke and it was the Germans, of course, that was a building they were occupying, so I thought, nothing I could do, I mean just stay. So if they hadn’t seen me then, they weren’t going to see me period so I stayed in the daylight as much as I could behind the rock area. At night I would search around a little bit to see if I could find anything that had water and then come back to where I had been. And I did that and also watched our own aircraft attacking Tobruk the next two or three nights. And I sort of, I guess it was the fourth day and that’s when I had thought I couldn’t handle it much longer, I was so thirsty. Food didn’t bother me, I wasn’t concerned about food. It was just that I couldn’t, I had trouble swallowing and I thought, well I had to do something. And the morning of the fifth day, I thought this is it. And again, nature takes over and as I say I was naked by this time but of course I was tanned. I got up and I was basically on like hands and knees like crouching and playing like Indians I guess, I was moving around, trying to get around without being seen. I was afraid the Germans would pick me up on this sort of basis so I, and I was heading slowly for this building which I had seen in the distance. I managed to get there and no one seemed to be bothering and I couldn’t see anybody around. And I got up to the building and it was a cement one floor structure with cement steps leading up and a door, going in door and there didn’t appear to be any windows in it, it was like a block house. So I climbed up the steps, went into the door which was partially open and here I am in a big square room and what’s there looking at me on the wall, Rommel, a big picture, General Rommel, massive picture looking out in his very fashion. And there was a big table with mail sorted out on the table and I thought, well geez, nobody is here, maybe they are out on patrol or something. So I scouted around and this is where I found some, I found like an African corps shirt, and pants and knee boots.

Realizing he is in enemy territory, naked and hungry, Mr. Watts sights a building in the distance and begins to make his way to shelter.

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

Related Videos

Date modified: