Biography

Birth date: 30 March 1890
Birth place: New Zealand
Death date: 29 March 1942
Death place: Australia: Victoria, Melbourne, Brighton
Final rank: Captain
Service number: 523 - First World War, 1914-1918
Units:
  • No. 4 Squadron, Australian Flying Corps
  • 2nd Australian Light Horse Brigade

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.

Rolls and Awards

Honours and Awards (Recommendation)

  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918

Honours and Awards (Recommendation) : Distinguished Flying Cross

  • Unit: No. 4 Squadron, Australian Flying Corps
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918

Honours and Awards (Recommendation) : Distinguished Flying Cross

  • Unit: No. 4 Squadron, Australian Flying Corps
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918

Honours and Awards : Distinguished Flying Cross

  • Unit: No. 4 Squadron, Australian Flying Corps
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918

Private Record

Watson, Herbert Gilles DFC (Captain b.1890 - d. 1942)

Collection relating to the First World War service of Captain Herbert Gilles Watson DFC. The collection consists of a diary written by Watson as a Sapper with 2nd Light Horse Brigade. The diary covers the period 1914 - May 1916 and describes his voyage from Albany to Egypt, training and time... Maker: Watson, Herbert Gilles

PR01028 (With records)

McCloughry, Edgar James (Captain), DSO, DFC

Collection relating to the service of Captain Edgar James McCloughry (aka Kingston-McCloughry), DSO, DFC, Australian Flying Corps. Collection consists of a typewritten memoir written for War Records Section AIF, in which Captain McCloughry describes his war experiences with 4 Squadron AFC,... Maker: McCloughry, Edgar James

1DRL/0426

Digitised Collection

Diary of Herbert Gilles Watson, DFC, 1914 - 1916

Diary relating to the First World War service of 523 Sapper Herbert Gilles Watson, 2nd Light Horse Brigade. This diary spans the period from 1914 - 19 May 1916, and covers the voyage from Albany to Egypt, training and time spent in Cairo, and time spent at Gallipoli, including the landing on 25...

RCDIG0000141

Heraldry

1914-15 Star : Sapper H G Watson, 2 Signal Troop, AIF

1914-15 Star. Impressed reverse with recipient's details.

REL27059.002

Pilot's embroidered wings : Captain H G Watson, Australian Flying Corps

Australian Flying Corps pilot's qualification brevet. The brevet has discoloured cream cotton embroidered wings, a King's crown, and the letters "AFC' within a khaki embroidered laurel wreath, on a dark blue wool ground.

REL27060

Royal Flying Corps officer's cap badge : Captain H G Watson, Australian Flying Corps

Royal Flying Corps officer's bronze cap badge. The badge is made up of a laurel wreath topped with the Imperial crown. Within the wreath are the letters 'RFC'.

REL27061

Discharged Returned Soldiers Badge : Captain H G Watson, Australian Flying Corps

Discharged Returned Soldiers Badge with impressed serial number on the reverse '6894'.

REL27062

Engraved gold watch fob : Captain H G Watson, Australian Flying Corps

Nine carat gold watch fob engraved on the reverse side with 'N.S.P.C. / Light weight Champ / won by / H.G. WATSON / 2nd Boxing Tour of / 7/10/13 / presented by / F.W.J. Fletcher / Newcastle.'

REL27063

Distinguished Flying Cross : Captain H G Watson, Australian Flying Corps

Distinguished Flying Cross. Engraved reverse with recipient's details.

REL27059.001

British War Medal 1914-20 : Captain H G Watson, Australian Flying Corps

British War Medal 1914-20. Impressed around edge with recipient's details.

REL27059.003

Victory Medal : Captain H G Watson, Australian Flying Corps

Victory Medal. Impressed around edge with recipient's details,

REL27059.004

Ribbon bar : Captain H G Watson, Australian Flying Corps

Ribbon bar for DFC (with early pattern ribbon that has horizontal stripes), 1914-15 Star, British War Medal 1914-20, and Victory Medal.

REL27059.005

Pair of miniature crocheted woollen booties : Captain H G Watson, 4 Squadron AFC

Good luck charm in the form of a pair of miniature crocheted white woollen baby's booties in 4 ply wool. The top edge of the each bootie and its ankle tie are crocheted from fine polished cotton. The booties are pinned together with a small brass safety pin.

REL27064

Photograph

E02495

Group portrait of officers of No. 4 Squadron, Australian Flying Corps (AFC), at their aerodrome. Back row, left to right: Lieutenant (Lt) C. R. Burton; Lt R. F. McRae; Lt C. S. Scobie; Lt J. S. M. Browne; Lt E. V. Culverwell; Lt G. S. Jones-Evans; Lt A. T. Heller; Lt O. B. Ramsay; Lt J. C. F....

E02495

E02496

Officers of B Flight, No. 4 Squadron, Australian Flying Corps (AFC), at their aerodrome near Clairmarais in front of one of their Sopwith Camel aircraft. Back row, left to right: Lieutenant (Lt) Milner; Lt Sly; unidentified visitor; Lt Moore; Second Lieutenant A. T. Heller. Front row: Lt J. H....

E02496

E02543

Group portrait of the officers of No. 4 Squadron of the Australian Flying Corps, at their aerodrome. Back row, left to right: Lieutenant (Lt) C. R. Burton; Lt R. F. McRae RAF; Lt C. S. Scobie RAF; Lt J. S. M. Browne RAF; Lt E. V. Culverwell RAF; Lt G. S. Jones Evans RAF; Lt A. T. Heller; Lt O. B....

E02543

Timeline

Date of birth 1890-03-30
Date of recommendation honour or award 1917
Date of recommendation honour or award 1918
Date of death 1942-03-29