Warrant Officer Keith Hamilton WATTS

Service No: 429839
Born: Hyde Park SA, 11 February 1922
Enlisted in the RAAF: 12 September 1942
Unit: No. 458 Squadron, Gibraltar
Died: Aircraft Accident (No. 458 Squadron Wellington aircraft HF402), off Gibraltar, 12 February 1945, Aged 23 Years
Buried: Unrecovered
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Raymond Arthur and Dorothy Agnes Watts, of Albert Park, Victoria, Australia
Roll of Honour: Unknown
Remembered: Panel 19, Column 2, Malta Memorial, Malta
Remembered: Panel 106, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: World War II Honour Roll, National War Memorial of SA, North Terrace, Adelaide

The Squadron Operations Record Book records the following: “Wellington HF402 was engaged on a training exercise off Gibraltar on the night of 11/12 February 1945 when the aircraft ditched in the sea, and four of those on board were killed and there were two survivors.” The aircraft crashed in the sea in position 055 deg, 18 miles off Europa Point, Gibraltar. It was on a radar homing and Leigh Light exercise with the RAF Pinnace 1272 in the early hours of the morning of 12th February. The aircraft made what appeared to be a normal run onto the pinnace when at 0210 hours it hit the water caught fire either before or after the impact and sank almost immediately about 2 miles from the pinnace. In a subsequent court of inquiry in to crash it concluded that the aircraft was flying too low and hit the water in a shallow dive.

The crew members of HF402 were:

Flight Sergeant Bernard Leslie Reid Conolan (428070) (Wireless Operator Air)
Flight Sergeant Maxwell George Egan (423682) (Wireless Air Gunner) Slightly Injured: Discharged from the RAAF: 14 November 1945
Flight Sergeant William John Fox (428682) (Pilot)
Warrant Officer Mervyn Thomas Lee (410993) (Wireless Operator Air)
Flight Sergeant Norman Leslie Taylor (419777) (Second Pilot) Slightly Injured: Discharged from the RAAF: 30 January 1946
Warrant Officer Keith Hamilton Watts (429839) (Navigator)


Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour On-Line Records (RAAF Casualty Information compiled by Alan Storr (409804))
Commonwealth War Graves Commission On-Line Records
Department of Veteran’s Affairs On-Line WWII Nominal Roll
National Archives of Australia On-Line Record A705, 166/43/1157

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