Squadron Leader Jack Watts shown with KB786 "Piddlin Peter" before the addition of the full nose art. The Pilots position shows "S/L "Jerk" Watts. The other crew positions had similar comical nick names for that crewman. Showing the crew was comfortable working with each other and even with having the aircraft's Captain with the high rank of Squadron Leader. S/L Watts would later be assigned the task of bringing home to Canada "Piddlin Peter" in June of 1945.

An Early Beginning

Jack Watts enlisted mid-1940, just months after the declaration of war. After finishing Manning Depot training. The Initial Training School screened and tested Jack for Pilot training upon approving him for Pilot training he was posted to EFTS at Portage la Prairie Manitoba as the first step to being a pilot. Many recruits hoping to continue on as pilots were redirected to other aircrew Trades. Successful cadets such as LAC Watts continued on to the next training step for future recipient of Wings. At Service Flight Training Schools which were located across Canada. Watts was lucky and was posted to #11 SFTS, Yorkton Saskatchewan. After his "Wings Parade" he was selected to be an instructor.

His posting to Trenton Ontario brought him closer to the seeing the dangers of his new Trade. Accidents took the lives of both student and instructors at many of the flight schools. Funeral Parades were a sobering awaking to the tasks at hand.
Seeking to serve overseas and now with the vast numbers of pilots now available to take over the schools needs, F/L Watts received orders to report for overseas operations.
In May of 1944 Watts reported to Halifax "Y" Depot for transportation to UK. Like the thousands before him he now had to face the North Atlantic with U Boats still at large, his being stuffed into ships designed to carry 2,000 passengers now being filled to the bulk heads with up to 10,000 military men of many nations and services.
On arrival at #3 Reception Depot, he would await his next posting to an OTU, Operation Training Unit even with all his training up to this point he had never had the responsibility of being in command of a whole crew. Once the crew came together it was his task to make them into a working crew. With the twin engine Wellingtons as a staring point.
Training never stopped, his crew moved on to #76 Base, Heavy Conversion Unit 1664. The crew would now expand by two new members and the team training would continue anew on a four engine Halifax Bigger and more powerful then a Wellington, Watts would now have a Flight Engineer to help him manage the controls. Within eight weeks the next step would be the posting to an operational squadron, in his case 419 Moose Squadron.

As F/L Watts he arrived at 419Squadron on Novenber 27th 1944, his crew was:
P/O J.P. Vernon (N)
F/O R.E. Sargent(B/A)
Sgt.R.A. Goodman (WAG)
F/O H.S. Lewis (F/E)
Sgt. C.F. Ampbell(MUG)
Sgt. L.J. McLaughli(RG)
S/L Watts and his crew would continue with Ops. until April 22nd 1945. The air war was coming to an end the last operation for 419 Lancasters was on April 25th.. The Watts crew flew 20 op. While S/L Watts had completed two additional operations as part of the continuing Pilot training, known as Second Pilot he flew two sorties with an experienced crew.

The "Big Hop"

May of 1945 the Squadron was on Stand Down. Soon the crews selected to return some of the Lancaster aircraft back to Canada, would take lessons in Commercial Transport procedures rather then the military procedures they have flown while on active duty.

S/L Watts called it the "Big Hop" in his log. The way to Canada started with a short flight from Middleton St. George to the most southerly point of England, The following day on to the Azores. Next day the destination was Gander Newfoundland. The last leg was to Yarmouth Nova Scotia. Jack Watts returned to civilian life in Saskatchewan after his return. On January 1, 1946 he received the Airforce Cross for his service to his country.

Jack Watts passed away in 1994 at age 82 in Edmonton.