William Charles Watling was born in Middlesborough, England, on 22 Feb. 1920. Son of William Charles and Annie Watling. The family later went to Guernsey and he attended Elizabeth College from 1936-1939, during which time he had an excellent athletic record. 1st XL Football, 1936-38; 1st. XL Hockey, 1937-39; MIddleweight boxing champion, 1938-39; Athletics: School Record 220 yard swim 1939;Inter Collegiate Record 100 yard, 1939. The "Watling Cup" for the 100 yard swim, was donated by his parents and is currently awarded to the Section of Combined Cadet Force who is best at drill. (credits to Sarah Cash of Elizabeth College)
In Sept. 1939 William entered RAF College Cranwell as a Flight Cadet. He was granted a permanent commision on July 14, 1940. He was posted to 92 East India Sqd. Biggin Hill, on July 15. He was immediatly attached to 5 OTU Aston Down. After converting to Spitfires he returned to 92 Sqd. on Aug. 2.
On Aug. 14 William shared in the destruction of a Ju88. He was shot down in combat with enemy aircraft at East Guldeford near Rye on Sept 9 while flying Spitfire P9372. He bailed out into the sea off Winchelsea Beach and was badly burned on his face and hands.
He probably destroyed a BF109 on November 2 and damaged another on December 1. Pilot Officer William Charles Watling Service No. 44186, was killed in action on February 7, 1941 still serving with 92nd Sqd. He is buried in St. Mary Cray Cemetery, Orpington, Kent. Plot E, Division 3, Grave 122. (credits to Kenneth G. Wynn "Men of the Battle of Britain".
Pilot Officer William Charles (Bill) Watling is mentioned three times in the recent and excellent book: First Light: The Story of the Boy Who Became a Man in the War-Torn Skies Above Britain It is the memoir by World War II fighter pilot Geoffrey Wellum
P/O Watling's aeroplane crashed at East Guldeford, Nr Rye, East Sussex whilst he landed in the sea off Winchelse Beach with burns. The Spitfire was recovered some years ago and is in private hands. The identity of the Spitfire was established beyond doubt as P9372 from data plates in wreckage.
grave located 51 deg. 23 min. 39.44 sec. North, 0 deg. 07 min. 26.70 sec. East
TO KNOW HIM IS TO LOVE HIM