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Archive Report: Allied Forces

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692 crest
692 Squadron Mosquito B.XVI PF380 W/Cdr. Watts DSO. DFC. MiD.

Operation: Berlin

Date: 10/11th July 1944 (Monday/Tuesday)

Unit: No. 692 Squadron (motto: Polus Dum Sidera Pascet 'So long as the sky'). 8 Group (PFF)

Type: Mosquito B.XVI

Serial: PF380

Code: P3-?

Base: RAF Graveley, Huntingdonshire


Pilot: W/Cdr. Stephen Delancy Watts DFC. DSO. MiD. NZ/404008 RNZAF Age 28. Missing - believed killed

Nav: F/O. Archibald Allisdair Matheson DFM. NZ/412714 RNZAF Age 29. Missing - believed killed


Taking off at 23:36 hrs. on a pre-D-Day operation to Berlin with 11 others from the squadron. A total force of 35 Mosquitoes taking part, all carrying 4,000 lb bombs.

8 Heinkel 219's from I./NLG1 scrambled to intercept together with 5 Fw190s but were unable to intercept the fast Mosquitoes.

At 00:31 hrs the Mosquitoes had made landfall over the northern provinces of the Netherlands. They continued to the target with no interceptions by the Luftwaffe but encountered very heavy flak.

All the aircraft bombed the target indicators at 01:40 hrs from between 22,000 - 27,000 ft, with the bombing a little scattered.

The German controllers decided to intercept the bomber force on their return. Major Hans Karlewski and his radio operator Uffz. Herman Vollert of 2 Staffel flying He219 A-O G98+EK was given the position of a lone Mosquito flying over the IJsselmeer area and shot down PF380 off Terschelling at 03:16 hrs. (see Kracker Archive)

On his 17th trip to Berlin the commanding officer of 692 squadron W/Cdr Watt was listed as missing, believed killed.

The remaining 11 Mosquitoes landed back at the base between 03:50 - 04:17 hrs.

5 aircraft left the base at 08:30 hrs the following morning to search for the crew but failed to locate them.

Burial details:

W/Cdr. Stephen Delancy Watts. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 262. Born on the 03rd March 1916 in Morrinsville, Waikato. Educated at Mount Albert Grammar School. Worked as a hardware assistant for Watts (his late father) and Brayshaw in Morrinsville, Enlisted at Levin as a pilot under training on the 27th of October 1940. With No. 3 Elementary Flying Training School on the 24th of October 1940. First solo on the 28th of November 1940. With No. 2 Service Flying Training School 18th January 1941. The pilot's badge was awarded on the 03rd of March 1941 and commissioned on the 12th of April 1941.

Embarked for England on the 29th of April 1941. No. 3 Personnel Reception Centre 02nd June 1941. 10 Operational Training Unit 07th June 1941. Joined 77 squadron on the 29th of August 1941 and carried out 24 operational sorties including 3 air-sea rescues. With 1501 Bean Approach Training Flight and involved in a crash landing after being damaged by enemy aircraft returning from an operation to Hüls on the 06/07th September 1941 (uninjured). A further crash landing after flak damage on an operation to Hamburg on the 26/27th of October 1941 (uninjured). With No 24 Operational Training Unit and carried out 2 operational sorties including 1 air sea rescue as an instructor on the 25th of April 1942. 1655 Mosquito Training Unit 05th October 1943. With 139 squadron on the 08th November 1943 carrying out 18 operational sorties. Joined 692 squadron on the 01st February 1943 and carried out 36 operational sorties. Becoming commanding officer on the 24th of March 1944. 14571 flying hours logged and on his 70th operational sortie.

Son of John Cyril Ross Watts (killed in action on the 30th March 1918, age 40 - a private with the NZEF in France), and of Edith Agnes Watts (née Goodwin - died 24th September 1975, age 88), of Morrinsville, Auckland, New Zealand.

DFC. (13th June 1943):

For service with this squadron he was awarded the DSO, Gazetted on 13th June 1944, for his actions in May 1944. The citation for his award was a joint one with other members of his squadron. It reads.. 'One night in May 1944 several crews of Mosquito aircraft were detailed for a difficult and dangerous mine-laying mission. The operation called for the highest standard of skill and accuracy. In the face of intense anti-aircraft fire, balloon defences and considerable searchlight activity the attack was pressed home with great precision from a low level. That complete success was achieved in spite of such hazards is a high tribute to the calm courage and iron determination shown by the following officers who participated in various capacities as leaders and members of the aircraft crew.

DSO. (16th May 1944):

This operation of laying mines in the Kiel Canal required a very high degree of skill and tenacity. The Canal is defended by guns and search-lights throughout its entire length and has, in addition, an extensive balloon barrage around every bridge over it. The Mosquitoes used were, unlike Tactical Mosquitoes, completely devoid of any forward-facing armoured plate and were not provided with cable cutters nor with steel leading edges. The risks involved were, therefore, great. Moreover, owing to the short notice on which this operation was ordered, only very limited practice was possible. In spite of these circumstances, Wing Commander Watts carried out the plan of attack with such precision and skill that it was in every way a complete success.

F/O. Archibald Allisdair Matheson. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 262. Born on the 23rd May 1915 in Carterton. Educated at Wairarapa College. A farmer for S.R Garwith in Masterton. Enlisted at Levin as a pilot under training on the 04th May 1941. With No. 3 Elementary Flying Training School, pilot training was terminated in late June 1941. Re-mustered as an observer under training on the 04th of July 1941. Embarked for Canada on the 04th November 1941. Trained with No. 6 Air Observer School and No, 5 Bomber Gunnery School. Air observer badge awarded and promoted to sergeant on the 29th March 1942.

Embarked for England on the 09th May 1942. With No 3 Personnel Reception Centre on the 23rd May 1942. With 11 Operational Training Unit on the 07th July 1942. With 1657 Heavy Conversion Unit 17th September 1942 and carried out 2 air sea rescue operational sorties. Commissioned on the 10th of February 1943. Remained at the unit as an instructor. Joined 1655 Mosquito Training Unit on the 21st of December 1943. Joined 692 squadron on the 02nd February 1944. 947 flying hours logged and on his 69 operational sorties.

Son of Duncan (died 24th December 1931, age 57) and Beatrice Ann Matheson (née McPhee - died 06th October 1965, age 72) of Casterton. Husband of Ethel Jeanie Matheson (née Snith - later McDonald), of Fatherston, Wellington, New Zealand.

DFM Citation (08th June 1843):

18 Squadron. A highly skilled navigator, Sergeant Matheson has completed many sorties. In December, 1942, while on an operational flight to Germany the wireless equipment in his aircraft failed. Despite this, Sergeant Matheson guided the bomber successfully to the target and back. On all occasions this airman has displayed great devotion to duty and contributed in no small way to the successes attained.

Above L-R: Rear; G. Chapman, C.H W.K Wilby, M.D McCarthy, I.A Burgess, J.B Munro, C.H Fox, A.D.V Forsyth.
Centre; C.S Dent, R.H Tye, R.S Sim, H.C McAffer, A.C Anderson, K.M Musker, W.J MacLeod, J.K Ward, P.S.G Thornton, R.J Clarke.
Front; A.H O'Brien, N.E.R Carrel, S.D Watts, A.St.A Murray, A.G Browne, B.N Murdoch, M.E Nairn, D.J Pyman, L.C Shepherd, E.E Pedersen, I.L Walton (courtesy Air Museum of New Zealand)

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot, thanks to the extensive research by Errol Martyn and his publications: “For Your Tomorrow Vols. 1-3”, New Zealand Cenotaph, Weekly News of New Zealand, Kracker Archive, By Such Deeds - C. Hanson, Air Museum of New Zealand, Museum of Transport and Technology, Auckland, Air-27-2216-11/12 National Archives, other sources as quoted below:

KTY 28-10-2022

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