Watson Malcolm Hector

born: 3 March 1913, Mount Gambier South Australia
died:  22 November 1941, Flying Battle, Mersa Matrah area, Middle East,

Parents:  Alexander Watson and Annie Watson nee Yates
Siblings:  Jessie Margaret, John Alexander, and Jean

On completing his education Malcolm joined the Mount Gambier branch of Elder Smith & Co., where he remained for several months before being transferred to Mount Pleasant in the Lower North of South Australia. From here he was transferred to Broken Hill in New South Wales where he gained experience in the large wool growing area before being appointed as Manager of the Angaston Branch.

Following the outbreak of war Malcolm enlisted with the Royal Australian Air Force at Parafield, South Australia on 4 March 1940 and was assigned to No 1 Elementary Training School as an Air Cadet. At the end of July Malcolm transferred to No 1 Service Flying Training School located at Point Cook in Victoria where he graduated as a Pilot officer on 24 September 1940. In November he was transferred to the 25th Squadron where he attained the rank of Flying Officer on 24 May 1941. Following his graduation Malcolm was assigned to the No 5 Squadron and on 9 June, he relocated to No 2 Embarkation depot in Sydney and departed on 27 June 1941 for overseas service. As part of his training, he learnt to fly the following aircraft: de Havilland DH60 Moth, de Havilland DH82 Tiger Moth, Hawker Demon, Miles Hawk, CAC Wirraway, and the de Havilland D94 Moth Minor.

On 22 November 1941 at 0945, twelve Tomahawks from the 3rd Squadron escorted six Blenheim’s from No 45 Squadron to bomb the Acroma – El Adem road and met with Messerschmitt Bf-109’s flown by Oberleutnant Hugo Schneider and Hauptmann Karl-Wolfgang Redlich of Luftwaffe I./Jagdgeschwader 27 who shot down three Tomahawk IIBs, which included Malcolm Watson in AK510.  Initially reported as missing, Malcolm was killed in action with his body being recovered and buried in the Knightsbridge War Cemetery, located at Acroma, in the province of Darnah, in Libya.  His headstone consists of a propeller and wreath.

On the evening of 6th February 1942, Mr. and Mrs. A.M. Watson received a telegram from the Air Force Board announcing the death of their son. The telegram read:

Deeply regret to inform you that your son Flying Officer Malcolm Hector Watson is now reported to have lost his life as the result of air operations. The remains of your late son were buried near Sollum. The Air Board joins with the Air Ministry in expressing profound sympathy in your sad bereavement. Letter will follow.

Malcolm is also remembered by a headstone erected in his honour in the Mount Gambier Lake Terrace Cemetery.

National Archives of Australia – NAA: A9300 WATSON M H
Virtual War Memorial – WATSON M H
3 Squadron – http://3sqnraafasn.net/indexpages/kia.htm
Border Watch (Mount Gambier, SA : 1861 – 1954), Saturday 7 February 1942, page 1
Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1931 – 1954), Friday 20 February 1942, page 7

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