Flying Officer Reginald Gordon WATTS DFC

Service No: 27178
Born: Adelaide SA, 2 December 1919
Enlisted in the RAAF: 23 July 1940
Unit: No. 29 Operational Training Unit (RAF), RAF Bruntingthorpe, Leicestershire
Awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC), 19 January 1945 (Citation Title: No. 460 Squadron)
Died: Aircraft Accident (No. 29 Operational Training Unit Wellington aircraft LN159), Leicestershire, 2 April 1945, Aged 25 Years
Buried: Oxford (Botley) Cemetery, Oxfordshire
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Ernest Henry and Nellie Irene Watts; husband of Gwendoline Mary Watts, of Mitcham, South Australia
Roll of Honour: Unley 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

The Citation for the DFC awarded to Flying Officer Watts, was that of a General Citation promulgated in London Gazette of 19/1/1945, Page 471.

On the 2nd April 1945, Wellington LN159 took off from RAF Bruntingthorpe, for air gunnery training. The crew comprised a screened pilot, two screened gunnery instructors, and six trainee air gunners. The aircraft collided with a tree and crashed some four miles south west of the airfield. Five of the crew members were killed and three were injured.

The crew members of LN159 were:

Sergeant Adams (1809689) (RAF) (Trainee Air Gunner) Injured
Flight Sergeant William Kenneth Dever (2210113) (RAFVR) (Screened Gunnery Instructor)
Sergeant Charles Edward Grevett (1868476) (RAFVR) (Trainee Air Gunner)
Sergeant Norman Langford (2216243) (RAFVR) (Screened Gunnery Instructor)
Flight Sergeant Thomas Leo McDermott (432696) (Trainee Air Gunner) Injured, Discharged from the RAAF: 21 June 1946
Sergeant Maurice Musgrave (1593362) (RAFVR) (Trainee Air Gunner)
Sergeant S H C Stagg (123991) (RAF) (Trainee Air Gunner) Injured
Flying Officer Reginald Gordon Watts DFC (27178) (Pilot) (Screened Pilot)

A Flying accident report it stated: “The Screened Pilot was killed and the surviving members too ill to be interviewed. Witnesses state that the aircraft was seen to be low flying very close to the ground and very low over an inland area of water. The aircraft brushed the ground of a rising hill at the end of the inland water when the propellers were damaged. The aircraft then cut off about 10 feet of thin branches from a 25/30 feet tree hedge and it crashed about a mile further still at high speed. The recovered Air Speed Indicator indicated 150 knots. The aircraft disintegrated in the crash and burned.”


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, 166/43/125

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