1923 (Approximate) - November 1, 2010
Richard 'Dick' Arthur Watson was a pilot with 440 Squadron during the Second World War. He began his flying career when he was 18 years old. While serving as a fighter pilot, he flew 90 operations and was shot down three times.
Watson was born and raised in a log cabin in the town of Oba, Ontario.
In Hal Gooding's bood A Man Called Hal, Gooding wrote about his friend. "On July 18,1944, P/O Dick Watson was hit by flak, blown right out of his aircraft, managed to parachute down and end up landing about three hundred yards from the target he had been attacking amidst fierce fighting. He evaded the enemy and managed to hook up with a British unit who pressed him into service escorting German prisoners to the rear. He was later returned to 440's base."
Watson's first op with 440 was on 16 June 1944 (log attached 15 jun 44.) His last “planned” op was 1 January 1945 but he was caught on the ground during the Luftwaffe attack. He damaged a Fw-190 while firing from the ground before having to abandon his burning aircraft and running for cover. (cited in 1 Jan 45 log attached). He was decorated by both France and Belgium, Croix de Guerre (France) - No.440 Squadron - Awarded as per AFRO 1619/45 dated 19 October 1945. Croix de Guerre 1940 with Palm (Belgium) - No.440 Squadron - Award effective 27 June 1947 as per London Gazette dated of that date and AFRO 403/47 of dated 25 July 1947.
Text for two photos: PL-40736 UK-15947 18 Oct, 1944 440 Squadron City of Edmonton. Pilot Officer (P/O) Richard A. Watson of Oba, Ontario takes over from his fitter, LAC Ivan Black of Grande Prairie. PL-14244 18 December 1942 #14 SFTS Aylmer Ontario, Wings Parade, LAC R.A. Watson, Oba, Ont., was one of the graduating class who received R.C.A.F. pint's wings.
For more information about Dick Watson, please refer to Typhoon and Tempest by Hugh Halliday, pages 59, 60, 63, 64, 73, 82, 106, 185.
After the war, he began his tourism business, Watson's Algoma Vacations Ltd in 1946 (Pine Portage Lodge and Kaby Lodge). He held his commercial pilot's license until he was 72 years of age.
He was married to B. Edna Watson and the father to six children, and the step-father to two children. He was the grandfather of nineteen, also having great and great-great grandchildren.