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Thomas Watson, from Whitehorse, Yukon, worked at both the Dawson City and Whitehorse branches of The Canadian Bank of Commerce before moving to British Columbia. In 1940, he enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force from the branch in Vernon, BC. After training in Canada, Watson was sent overseas in 1941 and served all over the world - Singapore, Sumatra and Java (now part of Indonesia), Australia, New Guinea, India and Burma (now known as Myanmar) - and flew several different aircraft including Hurricanes, Kittyhawks and Liberators. After his release from active service in January 1946, Watson returned to The Canadian Bank of Commerce at the Kelowna branch in British Columbia.
In recognition of his gallantry and devotion to duty in the execution of air operations, Watson was awarded The Distinguished Flying Cross in 1945.
Distinguished Flying Cross medal awarded to Thomas Watson by the Canadian government
Excerpt from official citation of Thomas Watson, London Gazette, 11th December 1945:
Squadron Leader Watson has a fine operational record. In the early stages of the fighting in the Far Eastern theatres he completed very many sorties flying in fighter aircraft, and was responsible for the destruction of at least two enemy aircraft. Three times this officer was shot down. On the last of these occasions he succeeded in escaping from Java just a few hours before the arrival of the enemy troops in the area. Some two years later Squadron Leader Watson converted to heavy bomber aircraft, in which type he has completed many attacks on various targets. On three separate occasions vital bridges on the Bangkok-Singapore line were destroyed largely by accurate bombing and repeatedly determined attacks of Squadron Leader Watson. This officer has set an outstanding example of courage and tenacity.