Joseph Watt VC
Name: Joseph Watt
Conflict: First World War
Gazetted: August 29, 1917
Service: Royal Naval Reserve
Joseph Watt VC
Place/date of birth: Gardenstown, Banffshire/June 25, 1887
Rank when awarded VC (and later highest rank): Skipper (later Chief Skipper)
Date of bravery: May 15, 1917
London Gazette citation:
Skipper Joseph Watt, R.N.R., 1206 W.S.A.
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.
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Other decorations: N/A
Place/date of death: Fraserburgh, Aberdeenshire/February 13, 1955
Grave/memorials: Kirkdown Cemetery, Fraserburgh, Aberdeenshire
Origin of VC to the Lord Ashcroft collection: Purchased at auction, Spink, London, 2012
Current location of VC: Displayed on rotation at The Lord Ashcroft Gallery: Extraordinary Heroes exhibition, Imperial War Museum