Discover the stories and remember the lives of UCC
Old Boys who gave the ultimate sacrifice in the Great War.
Captain Loudon Pierce Watkins ’15
Died: July 1, 1918
Capt. L. P. (Don) Watkins, son of Mrs Watkins of 95 Breadalbans St., Toronto, was at U.C.C. from 1911-1915 when he left to enlist in the R.F.C. After serving in France until December 1916, he was called to England for Zepp raiding and in June 1917, brought down Zepp L.48, which was a flag-ship; for this he was awarded the M.C.
Early in 19 18 he was recalled to France for night bombing and was killed in action over the French lines. His brother, Capt. E. J. Watkins was flight instructor at Camp Borden; two other brothers are in the service, Sapper J. F. Watkins with the Engineers in France and Cadet H. Watkins, R.A.F. in training here. Capt. “Don” Watkins was 21 years of age.
The following letters have been received by Mrs. Watkins.
In the Field. 3-7-18.
Dear Mrs. Watkins :
I am afraid what I say will fall very short of what I feel and what we all feel in losing the dear old man. I am not writing to you as his CO but as a great friend, and I hope you will understand. We all loved him as a great wonderful stout-hearted pal and because of that I hope you will understand how much we feel for you and for his father and brothers.
I think you would like to know a few details about his death though I am sure his young brother will have already written and told you. He went out for his second bomb raid on the night of the 30th-1st July and his engine gave him trouble and he decided to come back. On the way back he decided to land and chose a fair-sized field, but unfortunately it was standing corn and the machine turned over. He was killed instantaneously the doctors assured me and his observer was thrown out on his head. He was buried yesterday in the cemetery adjoining the hospital.
His brother and a few of us were there. Everything was just as he would have wished it, “no hot air,” and we came away feeling a gap had taken place amongst us which could never be filled.
To us he was and will always be “Old Man Watkins.” The first into the air and the last down. He was a tower of strength to everyone with his quiet air of deliberation and assurance and every long distance job which had to be done looked shorter for his cheerfulness. We can never fill his place in the Squadron and I have lost a splendid flight commander and a dear pal. He was one of God’s good men, never knowing defeat and never giving up hope. The men in his flight loved him, he never asked them to work but he would be there himself encouraging them, by his help and advice.
I hope you will let me know if I can do anything for you because I should just love to.
Yours very sincerely,
Ivor T. Lloyd
Privy Purse Office,
Buckingham Palace, S.W.
July 26th, 1918.
Dear Madam :
The King and Queen deeply regret to hear of the loss you and the Army have sustained by the death of your son in the service of his Country, and I am commanded to convey to you the expression of Their Majesties’ true sympathy with you in your sorrow.
Yours very truly,
(Signed) T. M. Ponsonby,
Keeper of the Privy Purse.
College Times (Christmas 1918) pg. 18-19
More information about Captain Loudon Pierce Watkins ’15 can be found at:
A Rattle of Pebbles: The First World War Diaries of Two Canadian Airmen, by Brereton Greenhous (1987)
High Flight Magazine, Vol. 3 No. 3 – Captain Loudon Pierce Watkins, MC – Zeppelin Fighter (1980)
On Canadian Wings: A Century of Flight, by Peter Pigott (2005 ) page 32-33