On January 3rd, 1945, Major Watson was commanding ‘A’ Company of a Parachute Battalion, which was leading the assault into Bure. When the Company was formed up on the start line, very heavy and accurate fire from enemy mortars, artillery and machine-guns came down on it. Some 28 casualties were incurred immediately, but Major Watson, completely disregarding the enemy fire, ran up and down the line reorganising the forming up, and by his personal leadership and example enabled the attack to be launched.
He led the Company several hundred yards down a slope and stormed into the village in spite of fire from enemy machine-guns from the nearest houses. Once in the village he kept the Company moving forward, clearing the houses constantly moving himself from place to place, with complete disregard for enemy fire and continually encouraging his men. Almost at once the enemy counter-attacked with Tiger tanks and infantry, but Major Watson immediately organised his PIAT teams and beat off the tanks. At one time in order to make a Tiger tank move its position and give a better shot to a PIAT, he deliberately drew attention to himself, though only 50 yards from the tank.
Although the enemy counter-attacked time and again, Major Watson coolly organised the defence, and having repelled the attacks, again advanced and eventually completed the clearing of that part of the village allotted to him.
His conduct, energy and gallantry throughout were beyond praise, and without him the attack might well have failed.
Extract from London Gazette, February 1945Read More