Orders, Decorations and Medals (28 & 29 March 2012)

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Date of Auction: 28th & 29th March 2012

Sold for £3,700

Estimate: £2,000 - £2,500

A fine Second World War D.F.C., post-war Q.P.M., O. St. J. group of eight awarded to Assistant Chief Constable N. Watson, Liverpool & Bootle Constabulary, late Flight Lieutenant, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, who survived ten trips to the “Big City” as a Navigator in Lancasters in 1943

Distinguished Flying Cross, G.VI.R., reverse officially dated ‘1944’, with its Royal Mint case of issue; Queen’s Police Medal, E.II.R., for Distinguished Service (Norman Watson, D.F.C., Asst. Ch. Const., Liverpool & Bootle Constabulary), with its Royal Mint case of issue; The Most Venerable Order of St. John, Serving Brother’s breast badge, silvered base metal and enamel; 1939-45 Star; Air Crew Europe Star; Defence and War Medals 1939-45; Police Long Service, E.II.R. (Supt. Norman Watson), mounted court-style as worn, with a set of related miniature dress medals, generally good very fine (16)


D.F.C. London Gazette 18 January 1944. The original recommendation states:

‘Flying Officer Watson has been the Navigator of the Lancaster aircraft in which he has flown on operations against the enemy on some 22 occasions. He contributed to the devastation of Hamburg on three successive sorties and he has also participated in attacks on Cologne, Mannheim, Hanover and Berlin each on two occasions. Flying Officer Watson’s cheerful courage, unselfishness and sacrifice, combined with his unerring navigational airmanship, have won him the confidence of his captain and crew which is in large measure attributable to their achievement of such a praiseworthy record. This officer’s outstanding example would be fittingly recognised by the award of the Distinguished Flying Cross.’

Q.P.M. London Gazette 1 January 1967.

Norman Watson, who qualified as a Navigator in October 1942, commenced his operational career in No. 12 Squadron, a Lancaster unit operating out of Wickenby, Lincolnshire, in May 1943, when he participated in a strike against Dortmund with Wing Commander Wood at the helm.

Thereafter, in the period leading up to November, and with Flying Officer B. E. McLaughlin as his pilot, he went on to complete a further 21 sorties with the Squadron, his targets including Berlin on four occasions, Cologne (twice), Dortmund, Dusseldorf (twice), Essen, Hamburg (thrice - during the famous firestorm raids of July 1943), Hannover (twice), Mannheim (twice), Modane, Nuremburg (twice), Oberhausen and Stuttgart, in addition to trips to Milan and Turin, the latter being abandoned owing to flak damage.

In mid-November 1943, he transferred to No. 626 Squadron, another Wickenby-based Lancaster unit, and completed his tour of operational duty a few weeks later, after six further strikes against the “Big City”, and another raid on Modane. He was awarded the D.F.C.

Watson, who returned to No. 626 Squadron in early 1945, in time to complete several “Manna” and “Exodus” sorties to Belgium and Holland, afterwards pursued a successful career in the Liverpool & Bootle Constabulary, attaining senior rank and being awarded the Q.P.M., in addition to his appointment as Serving Brother of the Order of St. John in 1967.

Sold with the recipient’s original R.A.F. Observer’s and Air Gunner’s Flying Log Book, covering the period September 1942 until May 1945, together with letters of notification for his Serving Brother O. St. J., dated 18 December 1967, and Q.P.M., dated at the Home Office, 30 December 1967, and 1939-45 War campaign medal Air Ministry authority to wear slip.