11 August 2013

Victoria Cross: J. Watt


Skipper, Royal Naval Reserve; HM Drifter Gowan Lea

Born: 25 June 1887, Gardenstown, Banffshire
Died: 13 February 1955, Fraserburgh, Aberdeenshire

Citation: For most conspicuous gallantry when the Allied Drifter line in the Straits of Otranto was attacked by Austrian light cruisers on the morning of the 15th May, 1917.
When hailed by an Austrian cruiser at about 100 yards range and ordered to stop and abandon his drifter the "Gowan Lea," Skipper Watt ordered full speed ahead and called upon his crew to give three cheers and fight to the finish. The cruiser was then engaged, but after one round had been fired, a shot from the enemy disabled the breech of the drifter's gun. The gun's crew, however, stuck to the gun, endeavouring to make it work, being under heavy fire all the time. After the cruiser had passed on Skipper Watt took the "Gowan Lea" alongside the badly damaged drifter "Floandi" and assisted to remove the dead and wounded.

[London Gazette issue 30258 dated 28 Aug 1917, published 28 Aug 1917.]

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