Snapshot of History: Oswald Watt – Australian Aviator and British Businessman

Captain Oswald Watt, an English-born Australia...

Captain Oswald Watt, an English-born Australian aviator who was a member of the French Foreign Legion before joining the Australian Flying Corps. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

#AceHistoryNews says Oswald Watt (1878–1921) was an Australian aviator and businessman. He was born in England and came to Sydney when he was a year old, returning to England for his education. In 1900 he went back to Australia and enlisted in the Militia, before acquiring cattle stations in New South Wales and Queensland. He was also a partner in the family shipping firm. Becoming in 1911 the first Australian to qualify for a Royal Aero Club flying certificate, Watt joined the French Foreign Legion as a pilot on the outbreak of World War I. He transferred to the Australian Flying Corps (AFC) in 1916, quickly progressing to become commanding officer of No. 2 Squadron on the Western Front. By February 1918, he had been promoted to lieutenant colonel and taken command of the AFC’s 1st Training Wing in England. A recipient of France’s Legion of Honour and Croix de Guerre, Watt was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 1919. He left the military to pursue business interests in Australia. In 1921, he drowned at Bilgola Beach, New South Wales. He is commemorated by the Oswald Watt Gold Medal for outstanding achievement in Australian aviation, and the Oswald Watt Fund at the University of Sydney.

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