LEST WE FORGET

Pilot Officer Robert Hamilton WATTS

Service No: 416469
Born: Adelaide SA, 21 June 1920
Enlisted in the RAAF: 23 June 1941
Unit: No. 44 Squadron (RAF), RAF Dunholme Lodge, Lincolnshire
Died: Air Operations (No. 44 Squadron Lancaster aircraft EE184), North Sea, 21 October 1943, Aged 23 Years
Buried: Bergen-op-Zoom Canadian War Cemetery, Noord-Brabant, Netherlands
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Raymond Arthur and Dorothy Agnes Watts, of Hampton, Victoria, Australia
Roll of Honour: Adelaide SA
Remembered: Panel 132, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: World War II Honour Roll, National War Memorial of SA, North Terrace, Adelaide

Lancaster EE184 took off from RAF Dunholme Lodge at 1726 hours on the night of 20/21st October 1943 to bomb Leipzig, Germany. Owing to suspected damage by anti-aircraft fire to the fuel system, the aircraft had to ditch at 0013 hours on 21 October 1943 in position 53.17N 01.20E about 100 kms north east of Grimsby, Lincolnshire. The aircraft broke into two almost immediately after ditching and the Pilot went down with the nose. The Navigator dived off the wing presumably to help the pilot and neither was seen again. The remainder of the crew were rescued from a dinghy by the mine sweeper Loch Moidart, and all were safe and returned to the Squadron.

The crew members of EE184 were:

Sergeant John Norman Connor (1553860) (RAFVR) (Navigator)
Sergeant P C Denness (1319495) (RAFVR) (Rear Gunner) Rescued
Sergeant R Gilmour (1369736) (RAFVR) (Wireless Air Gunner) Rescued
Sergeant R Hogg (1457363) (RAFVR) (Front Gunner) Rescued
Sergeant D M Pearce (1603364) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer) Rescued
Pilot Officer Robert Hamilton Watts (416469) (Pilot)
Sergeant H Young (1211179) (RAFVR) (Mid Upper Gunner) Rescued

Sergeant Connor has no known grave and his name is commemorated on the Memorial to the Missing, Runnymede, Surrey. He is a true hero.

References:

Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour On-Line Records (RAAF Casualty Information compiled by Alan Storr (409804))
Commonwealth War Graves Commission On-Line Records
Department of Veteran’s Affairs On-Line WWII Nominal Roll
National Archives of Australia On-Line Record A705, 166/43/386

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