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Archive Report: Allied Forces

Compiled from official National Archive and Service sources, contemporary press reports, personal logbooks, diaries and correspondence, reference books, other sources, and interviews.
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92
92 Squadron Spitfire Ib R6924 P/O. William Charles Watling

Operation: Weather test

Date: 07th February 1941 (Tuesday)

Unit: No. 92 Squadron (motto: Aut pugna aut morere - 'Either fight or die')

Type: Spitfire Ib

Serial: R6924

Code: GR-G

Base: RAF Manston

Location: East Guildeford

Pilot: P/O. William Charles Watling 44186 RAF Age 20. Killed

REASON FOR LOSS:

On the 09th September 1940 he was shot down over East Guldeford flying Spitfire P9372 .(1) He managed to bale out over the sea off Winchelse Beach but suffered extensive burns to his hands and face.

He received treatment by Dr. McIndoe (2) at the Queen Victoria Hospital in East Grinstead, Sussex. Then returned to active service with 92 squadron.

On the 07th February with weather described as dull with a low cloud base two Spitfires, took off from RAF Manston in the morning for a weather test. Visibility was extremely bad a telephone call from RAF Hawking at 11:45 hrs Spitfire R6924 flew into high ground near Deal. The other Spitfire returned to base safely and the weather prevented flying for the remainer of the day.

(1) The aircraft was recovered in the 1970's, The decision to restore P9732 was made in 2019 These parts were acquired by Peter R. Monk of the Biggin Hill Heritage Hangar Ltd and put on display in the hangar in 2016. The restoration project of P9372 was registered in the UK as G-CLIH on 05th August 2019.

Above and below Spitfire P9372 during restoration.


Right: Dr. Mcindoe with his brother Captain John Lesley Mcindoe (taken PoW)

(2) Dr. Archibald Hector McIndoe from New Zealand. Second of four children of John McIndoe and Mabel Hill (a well known New Zealand Artist). Brother of John Leslie McIndoe (9014) also an artist and a POW in WW2. A pioneer of plastic surgery. and founder of the Guinea Pig Club. They challenged the existing perception that disabilities were life-limiting and went on to mentor new generations of burns victims, including Service personnel injured in the Falklands, Iraq, and Afghanistan conflicts. Born on the 04th May 1900 - CBE awarded in 1944 - knighted in 1946 - passed away on the 12th April 1960, age just 59 his ashes were buried in the Royal Air Force church of St Clement Danes in London - the only civilian with his ashes interned there.

Burial details:

P/O. Watling was buried on the 13th February 1941.

P/O. William Charles Watling. St. Mary Cray Cemetery. Plot E. Div. 3, Grave 122. Born on the 22nd February 1920 in Middlesborough, England. His family later settled in St. Jacques, Guernsey and he attended Elizabeth College there from 1936 to 1939. Enlisted in the RAF College Cranwell as a Flight Cadet.in September 1939 Granted a permanent commission on the 14th July 1940. Joined 92 squadron on the 15th July 1940 then converting to Spitfies at No. 5 Operational Training Unit. Rejoined 92 squadron on the 02nd August. Son of William Charles and Annie Watling, of St. Jacques, Guernsey, Channel Islands. Epitaph: 'To Know Him Is To Love Him'.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot with thanks to the National Archive Kew, AIR-27-744-3.

KTY 20-04-2024

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Acknowledgements
Sources used by us in compiling Archive Reports include: Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vols. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vols. 1 and 2', Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries', Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Tom Kracker - Kracker Luftwaffe Archives, Michel Beckers, Major Fred Paradie (RCAF) and MWO François Dutil (RCAF) - Paradie Archive (on this site), Jean Schadskaje, Major Jack O'Connor USAF (Retd.), Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - 'Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945', Archiwum - Polish Air Force Archive (on this site), Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Franek Grabowski, Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Stan D. Bishop, John A. Hey MBE, Gerrie Franken and Maco Cillessen - Losses of the US 8th and 9th Air Forces, Vols 1-6, Dr. Theo E.W. Boiton - Nachtjagd Combat Archives, Vols 1-13. Aircrew Remembered Databases and our own archives. We are grateful for the support and encouragement of CWGC, UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, New Zealand National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
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