Bomber Command veteran given medal

John Watson DFM with the Bomber Command Path Finder Force medal clasp he received from Prime Minister David Cameron at 10 Downing Street by a picture of the Avro Lancaster aircraft he flew. March 20th 2013 E12173P
John Watson DFM with the Bomber Command Path Finder Force medal clasp he received from Prime Minister David Cameron at 10 Downing Street by a picture of the Avro Lancaster aircraft he flew. March 20th 2013 E12173P

An Eastbourne veteran has been given a medal for his involvement in Bomber Command.

John Watson, who lives in Willingdon, went up to London and attended a ceremony at Downing Street on Tuesday (March 19).

The 89-year-old described the experience as a ‘fantastic day’ after being presented with the medal from Prime Minister David Cameron.

Mr Watson said, “I was very pleased to be invited up to number 10 Downing Street.

“There were 25 of us there in total and we were invited to represent all the others involved.

“I felt I was being presented with the clasp on behalf of the old crew.

“I also feel it is long overdue because we have always been treated as if we were murderers really.”

Mr Watson was involved in many operations for Bomber Command during the Second World War.

He flew with 12 Squadron on 11 operations and with the 156 Path Finder Force Squadron on 66 operations.

Mr Watson said he thoroughly enjoyed his trip to London and was accompanied by his proud wife and son, Irene and Steve.

The three travelled by train before getting a taxi to the RAF Club in Piccadilly.

Mr Watson said, “The black cab driver refused to accept any money from us, which is really very kind. We get the same treatment from the black cab drivers when we go to the memorials in London.”

Mr Watson and the fellow veterans were then taken to Downing Street where there was a speech by the Prime Minister, followed by the award presentation and refreshments afterwards.

Mr Watson said, “David Cameron came and chatted to my wife and I.

“I found him to be a very genuine man.

“It was a fantastic day.”