Joseph Watt VC

Name: Joseph Watt

Conflict: First World War

Gazetted: August 29, 1917

Service: Royal Naval Reserve

Joseph Watt VC
Joseph Watt Medals
Medal group

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.

Click here to see full Gazette entry.

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