Herbert Gilles WATSON DFC

WATSON, Herbert Gilles

Service Numbers: 523, Service number relinquished on commissioning
Enlisted: 28 October 1914
Last Rank: Captain
Last Unit: No. 4 Squadron, Australian Flying Corps
Born: Dunedin, Otago, New Zealand, 30 March 1889
Home Town: Sydney, City of Sydney, New South Wales
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Depot Manager
Died: Brighton, Melbourne, Victoria, 29 March 1942, aged 52 years, cause of death not yet discovered
Cemetery: Not yet discovered
Memorials:
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World War 1 Service

28 Oct 1914: Involvement AIF WW1, Sapper, SN 523, 2nd Light Horse Brigade Signal Troop, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
28 Oct 1914: Enlisted AIF WW1, Paddington, Sydney, New South Wales
28 Oct 1914: Enlisted AIF WW1, Sapper, SN 523, 2nd Light Horse Brigade Signal Troop
25 May 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Sapper, SN 523, 2nd Light Horse Brigade Signal Troop, ANZAC Gallipoli
16 Sep 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Driver, SN 523, Motor Drivers
5 Feb 1918: Involvement AIF WW1, Second Lieutenant, No. 4 Squadron, Australian Flying Corps, AFC operations Western Front
18 Feb 1918: Involvement AIF WW1, Lieutenant, No. 4 Squadron, Australian Flying Corps, German Spring Offensive 1918
8 Aug 1918: Involvement AIF WW1, Captain, SN Service number relinquished on commissioning, No. 4 Squadron, Australian Flying Corps, "The Last Hundred Days"

Awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross

'Whilst on offensive patrol he encountered several Pfafz scouts, one of which he shot down. He has also in three weeks shot down four enemy machines and destroyed a balloon, attacking the latter at 6,000 feet, following it down to 1,000 feet, when it burst into flames.'

Source: 'Commonwealth Gazette' No. 191
Date: 12 December 1918

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Biography

A depot manager living in Sydney with his parents citing his mother as Next of Kin, Mrs F M Watson, 'Wandilly', Belmore Road, Burwood, New South Wales, (later of Murray St Croydon) Herbert Gilles Watson was born in Cairsham, a suburb of Dunedin, NZ,  the son of Rev. Francis Edward and Fanny Martha (Gilles) Watson. 

At the age of 24, he enlisted as a sapper in the 2nd Light Horse Signal Troop of the Australian Imperial Force on 28 October 1914.  He departed Australia for overseas service in late December 1914 and underwent training in Egypt. At Gallipoli on 23 July 1915, he was in hospital with scalded feet and was evacuated to England in October 1915. 

On returning to duty, Watson served as a driver with the Motor Transport Services in the UK variously attached to a number of hospitals and ancillary units before he transferred to the Australian Flying Corps in late 1917.  Posted to 4 Squadron (AFC) on 5 Feb 1918, he eventually scored fourteen victories and was the highest scoring New Zealand ace to serve in the AFC. 

He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.

He returned to service with the RAAF during World War II but died in at Brighton Beach, Victoria, on 29 March 1942 a day before his 53rd birthday.

 

 

 

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