Eric Watcham was born in 1902 and lived in Shildon, Co. Durham. He was the son of George and Mary Annie Watcha. Eric enlisted in the Royal Air Force  and became a navigator.

He met his crew during his training at an O.T.U. unit. Eric and his crew arrived at 142 squadron on 25 September 1942.

His crew consisted of:

142 Squadron

Sgt Bartlett Parker Shaddick RAAF
Sgt Frank Bernard Hough
Sgt Eric Watcham
Sgt Edwin Cuthbert Woollard
Sgt G.T.Reyburn RCAF

Sgt Reyburn was an American who had joined the Royal Canadian Air Force and he was an air gunner. Sgt Shaddick, the pilot, was from Australia.

It was not long before the crew started flying on operations. On their fourth mission, on 15/16 October 1942, they had a very hairy experience after which Sgt Shaddick was awarded a Distinguished Flying Medal.

The crew partcipated in a mission to Cologne. The plane was hit by Flak and although heavily damaged he flew the Wellington to Manston, which a a large base with specially long and wide runways in case heavuly damaged bombers needed room to land. While landing, the Wellington run into a parked Hudson of 320 Squadron. The Wellington was a write off but the crew was unhurt.

Less then ten days later, the crew was on a mission to bomb the Italian city of Milan. On 24 October 1942, the crew took off from their base Grimsby at 19.25. They were flying Wellington X1D X3455 QT-D. Not long into their long journey to the north Italian city, the Wellington was lost due to unknown circumstances. It crashed just off the Dutch coast near Schouwen Duiveland.

The whole crew perished. The bodies of all washed ashore on Dutch beaches and are buried at different cemeteries.

Sgt Eric Watcham is buried at Amsterdam New Eastern cemetery, Plot 69. Row D. grave 18.

Amsterdam, The Netherlands

See also:
Sgt Frank Hough
Sgt Bartlett Shaddick
Sgt Edwin Woollard
Sgt G.T.Reyburn

All casualties of 142 squadron buried in the Netherlands

142 Squadron
RAF Squadron crest © Crown Copyright is reproduced with the permission of the Controller of Her Majesty’s Stationery Office

Directions to Amsterdam New Eastern Cemetery

posted 5 April 2009

If you have any suggestions, comments or additional information, please contact me.

This website is dedicated to the men and women who died and/or are buried in The Netherlands during World War II.


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