b. 06/02/1897 London. d. 02/10/1974 London.
DATE AND PLACE OF GC ACTION: 22/12/1917 Jevington Down.
Victor Albert Watson (1897-1974) was born on the 6th February 1897 in the City of London, the 3rd son of John and Isabella Gray (nee Power) Watson. His father was the Clerk of Works at the Bank of England and he had two brothers William and Henry. The family were relatively well off with a servant, and also a governess called Elizabeth Robinson, who gave the three boys their early education. Victor was then educated at Merchant Taylor’s School.
On the outbreak of World War I, he enlisted with the Royal Naval Air Service. On 22nd December 1917, at Jevington Down, East Sussex, the airship SSZ7 crashed into the airship SSZ10 in mid-air, and both burst into flames. Watson, the senior officer on the spot, immediately rushed up to the car of SSZ10 under the impression that one of the crew was still inside although he was well aware that there were bombs attached to the airship that could explode at any time. Having satisfied himself that there was no one in the car, he turned away to render assistance elsewhere. At that moment one of the bombs exploded, shattering his right arm, which had to be amputated almost immediately. In the same incident, Harold Robinson and Eric Steere were also awarded the Albert Medal in Gold for pulling survivors out of the wreckage.
On 27th June 1918, Victor married Ethel Mary Sara Crichton at Henley-in-Thames, Oxfordshire. Her father was Lionel Crichton, the owner of a leading dealer in old English silver. Victor was given a job with Crichton Brothers while he recovered from the injury sustained in the rescue at Jevington Down. He was a made a Freeman of Goldsmiths Company by Redemption on 6th July 1927 and elected to the Livery in January 1931. It is also believed that Victor served on the Antique Plate Committee for a number of years – possibly from its inception to his death in 1974. His obituary noted how “his disability was completely ignored and the way in which he screwed his glass in his eye, tucked a caster under his arm stump, twisted off the cover and twirled it round in his left hand was an enjoyable sight.”
In 1971, Victor chose to retain his Albert Medal in Bronze rather than exchange it for a George Cross following the change to the Royal Warrant. Victor died in London on 2nd October 1974 and was cremated at Golders Green Crematorium, where there is a memorial plaque to him and his wife, who pre-deceased him in 1958. Victor’s medals including his AM are privately held.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: PRIVATELY HELD.
BURIAL PLACE: GOLDERS GREEN CREMATORIUM, LONDON.