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Remembering World War II
Hector Murray Watson
Name: Hector Murray Watson Rank: Technical Sergeant Service Number: 31135349 Service: 563rd Bomber Squadron 388th Bomber Group, Heavy, USAAF Awards: Air Medal, Purple Heart Date of Birth: August 3, 1913 Place of Birth: Central New Annan, Colchester Co., NS Date of Enlistment: June 20, 1942 Place of Enlistment: Lynn, Essex Co., Massachusetts Age at Enlistment: 28 Address at Enlistment: Lynn, Essex Co., Massachusetts Height: 5 feet, 8 inches Complexion: Dark Hair: Brown Eyes: Brown Occupation: Sales Clerk Marital Status: Single Next of Kin: Bernice Martha Ring, (Sister) Woburn, Mass., US Date of Death: July 20, 1943 Age: 29 Cemetery: Netherlands American Cemetery, Margraten, Netherlands Grave: Tablets of the Missing Hector Murray Watson was the son of John Wilson Watson (1862-1942), and Caroline ‘Carrie’ Bradshaw Archibald (1872-1914). His father was born in Central New Annan, NS; his mother – in Greenfield, St. Mary's, Guysborough Co., NS. Hector had two sisters, Annie Florence Watson and Martha Bernice Watson, and a brother Harold Ober Watson (1897-1916). Hector’s brother Harold (Service No. 715573) served Canada in First World War with the 106th Battalion (Nova Scotia Rifles). He enlisted Dec 29, 1915. Sadly, he died March 1, 1916, from measles complicated by pneumonia at the Queen St temporary hospital In Truro. Hector’s mother died the year after Hector was born, in 1914, and he immigrated to the US (travelling with his sister Bernice) August 29, 1919. In 1920, Hector and his sister Bernice were living with their aunt (from their father’s side of the family) Mary J Carleton on School St in Danvers, Mass. He was working as a clerk in 1935 and living at 86 Washington St in Lynn. He registered for the US Draft Oct 16, 1940, in Lynn, Mass. He was living with his father at 86 Washington St, Lynn, Essex Co., Mass. and self- employed at the time. Hector married Shirley Croft Wilson (1918-1997) of Everett, Mass., on February 11, 1943, in Boise, Idaho. Technical Sergeant Watson was assigned tot the 563rd Bomber Squadron of the 388th Heavy Bomber Group of the USAAF. By 1943, he was stationed at RAF Knettishall, in Knettishall, Suffolk, England. He was shot down July 25, 1943 in B-17 bomber #425907 'Wing and a Prayer.' The B-17 crashed into the North Sea when returning to its airfield in England, after a mission over Wustrow, Germany. Hector served as the Radio Operator. The crew was on their first mission and the loss was the first aircraft and crew from 388th Bomb Group to be lost in action. The other crew were: Arthur S Boyd Waist Gunner Lacy Collinsworth Ball Turret Gunner Warren H Fuller Pilot Frank W Kaminski Navigator Michael J Lattieri Left Waist Gunner Paul L Le Brun Top Turret Gunner Warren H McClure Tail Gunner William H Ritchie Bombardier Thomas J Scanlon Co-Pilot Hector’s body was not recovered so is commemorated on the Tablets of the Missing at the Netherlands American Cemetery. Just seven miles from the city centre of Maastricht, is the Netherlands American Cemetery. The memorial is of white portland stone, a sculpture depicts a mourning women flanked by hovering doves, and new growth from the shattered remains of a tree. It represents new life sprouting from war’s destructions and proclaiming people’s hope for peace. Walls in the court of honour bear the name of over 1700 Missing in Action including Sergeant Hector Murray Watson. He is also commemorated on a headstone at the Swampscott Cemetery in Lynn Co., Mass. There is also memorial to the 388th Bomber Group in Knettishall, England. The memorial bears the names of those men who lost their lives while stationed there.
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