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Military Service

Final Rank

Captain

Service Number

523
- First World War, 1914-1918

Birth date: 1890-03-30

Birth place: New Zealand

Death date: 1942-03-29

Death place: Australia: Victoria

Herbert Gilles Watson was born in New Zealand in 1890. A clerk when war broke out he enlisted on the 28 October 1914 and was assigned to 2nd Signal Troop. He embarked with his unit on the 22 December 1914 on board HMAT Borda and then underwent training in Egypt. He went ashore at Gallipoli at 7am on 25 April 1915. He  was evacuated to England in July 1915 with scalded feet. By 1918 Watson had transferred to the Australian Flying Corps (AFC), and was posted to 4th Squadron, AFC. 

He was awarded a Distinguished Flying Cross on 3 August 1918, the citation for which reads: "Whilst on offensive patrol he encountered several Pfalz scouts, one of which he shot down. He has also in three weeks shot down four enemy machines and destroyed a balloon, attacking the latter at 6,000 feet, following it down to 1,000 feet, when it burst into flames". By early October 1918, Watson had downed fourteen craft, three of these being balloons. He returned to Australia on 21 November 1918 on board HT Suevic. Herbert Watson died in Brighton Beach in 1942.