View Full Version : CO RAF Tengah at the Japanese Invasion

6th February 2011, 14:14
I have just started reading “The Second World War – A Military History” by Gordon Corrigan (Atlantic Books, 2010, ISBN 9781843548942).
In the ‘Prelude’ – i.e. setting the scene – he states (without a source) that “Within hours, the invaders had reached Tengah airfield, abandoned days before by the RAF as the station commander shot himself in shame and desperation, the shore defences . . . .”.
Now according to Malcolm’s rafweb the CO of Tengah became a PoW, but went on to a post-war career in the RAF.
These two statements appear to be mutually contradictory. I wish to know which is true. Not because I wish to cast nasturtiums on the CO’s character (or open old wounds), but simply because if Corrigan can make unsubstantiated statements like this in the first 19 pages then I (and, possibly, others) may need to take care in deciding the veracity of other statements in subsequent pages.
Who knows the truth?
Tks yr help
Peter Davies

6th February 2011, 14:48
Hi Peter

The CO who shot himself was Gp Capt F G Watts but he must have been replaced as CO by Ramsey-Rae before he shot himself on 4 Feb 1942.


6th February 2011, 15:02
Probert also confirms the details of Watts' suicide in "The Forgotten Air Force", and gives two sources for his statement.

In Volume 1 of Bloody Shambles, a pilot is quoted as describing Watts being on the "brink" even before this fateful day.

As an aside, though Corrigan makes some unorthodox, and some would say revisionist, comments and analyses, I have always found his fact-checking to be very good. His books on WW1 and "Sepoys in the Trenches" are excellent reading.


6th February 2011, 15:04
VMT yr response - much appreciated. There is, however, a further problem, but I'll email you on that one!
Peter Davies

6th February 2011, 15:14
Tks yr help
Peter Davies

7th February 2011, 07:08
Gp Capt Watts' death is also recorded in the book "Chasing After Danger" by Terence O'Brien. Since O'Brien was present at Tengah and although he does not mention names, you can assume the incident is accurate.

Old Duffer