Henry de Landre Watson

Flight Lieutenant Henry de Landre Watson served with RAF 48 Squadron at the time of his death on 26th February 1947 on a routine flight from Singapore.

Flight Lieutenant

Henry de Landre Watson


Flight Lieutenant Henry de Landre Watson from Gilford, Co. Down studied at Queen's University, Belfast before joining the Royal Air Force. He served in World War Two from 1943-1945 and remained in South East Asia after the war.

Flight Lieutenant Henry de Landre Watson (148537) served in the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve during World War Two. Born on 29th January 1924, he was the son of Charles Sydney Waller Watson and Esme Marguerite Watson (née De Landre) of Stramore House, Gilford, Co. Down.

He attended Queen’s University, Belfast, Co. Antrim and was part of a Royal Air Force Pre-Entry Course in 1941-1942. He served with the Royal Air Force during the Second World War from 1943-1945.

After the war, Henry remained in South East Asia with RAF 48 Squadron. He died on 26th February 1947 aged 23 years old. Flight Lieutenant Watson was the pilot of Douglas C-47 Dakota KK120. The plane disappeared with no trace on a flight between Changi, Singapore and Hong Kong. A total of 12 people lost their lives in the crash.

Second World War Memorial in Gilford, Co. Down

WartimeNI Photo: Some of the names, regiments, and townlands of those from Gilford and the surrounding area who lost their lives during the Second World War. Photo taken on 10th September 2016. Copyright Scott Edgar - WartimeNI.

His parents received a letter from Commander JR Gordon-Finlayson of RAF Command, Fare East on 10th March 1947.

Your son was Captain of an aircraft detailed to carry out a scheduled airline run from Changi Airfield, Singapore to Hong Kong. The aircraft took off from Changi at 10.10 hours on 26th February 1947, gave its last position at 10.49 hours and its last radio transmission at 11.02 hours. A thorough search was initiated but to no avail and covered the whole area of the route along which aircraft was briefed.

Letter to the family of Henry de Landre Watson

Family Archive Photo: A letter dated 10th March 1947 informs the Watson family of Gilford, Co. Down of the death of their only son on a flight between Singapore and Hong Kong. Photo supplied by Richard Edgar.

Henry de Landre Watson has no known grave. His name was on Columns 460 of the Changi War Memorial, Singapore. These names are now on the Kranji War Memorial, Singapore. Henry’s name is also on the Gilford War Memorial and Dollingstown War Memorial, Co. Down and the Queen’s University War Memorial, Belfast, Co. Antrim.