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Thread: Pilot Officer Ernest Miller Watts, 405 Squadron and 55 Course 2 SFTS

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    Default Pilot Officer Ernest Miller Watts, 405 Squadron and 55 Course 2 SFTS

    Guys,

    Pilot Officer Ernest Miller Watts died on 29th August 1941 with 405 Squadron, together with the loss of his crew with the exception of two members. Based on this date, he would have come straight from the OTU.

    The crew of 6 consisted of PO Ernest Miller Watts, Sgt I B Quinn, Sgt Douglas Miller Hughes, Sgt John William Thomas Davies, Sgt Roy James Hollobone and Sgt D S MacLeod. Quinn and MacLeod became POW's and l will look up there details to find out where they were captured but there is no indication on the reason for the loss.

    The casualties are buried at Rheinberg War Cemetery.

    Any ideas?

    Regards,

    Nick

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    Nick,

    There is no night fighter claim for this loss so its either flak or some fault with the airctaft.

    John.

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    Thanks John,

    I will see what the Liberation Quesionairres throw up.

    Regards,

    Nick

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    Default Information about the crash

    Hi Nick,

    I have information about the crash.

    PO Ernest Miller Watts was (would have been) my uncle (my father Peter Watts and another borther James Watts all served in the RAF in WWII. Peter and James surviving, but both now deceased).

    Before the war Ernest was a station manager (Hong Kong I think) for Imperial airways. My mother has a number of letters from that period. A letter which Ernest wrote to his Mum and Dad was written on July 4th 1941. He says "I am going off on my first "ops" tonight. So on the fatal operation at the end of August he was not long out of OTU. He didn't post it to them of course, but it was obviously still with his possessions at Pocklington when he died.

    The letter of most interest to you is a letter from one of the survivors Ivan Quinn to Ernests parents. Quinn says they were shot up and had the left motor and the front turret knocked out by flak. Eventually Ernest gave the order to bale out. The only other fact I have (from Officers Mess, Pocklington) is that the raid was on Duisberg in the Rurh valley. There are also three cards from Quinn and MacLeod, but they are from the POW camp so they were unable to say anything pertaining to the event itself.

    I hope this is of some help to you and I would love to know what your connection or interest in Ernest and the crew is. If you have any further information for me I would love to know. Please do get in touch.

    Kind regards
    Peter

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    Peter,

    Great to hear from you and thanks for that information.

    Ernest trained to be a pilot at 2SFTS, Brize Norton between November 1940 and March 1941 with my Father. Ernest was in 55 course, my Father in 56. I have a copy of a photo of Ernest at Brize Norton which l found at Hendon showing 55 course members, l will E Mail it on to you.

    In the process of researching my own Father's exploits, i wanted to see how his fellow student pilots fared as l know he was told to expect to survive 6 missions. In excess of 70% of the students were either killed or captured.

    Regards,

    Nick

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    Many thanks Nick - the photo is much appreciated.

    Kind regards,
    Peter

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