William Thomas de Rouffignac Waters, known as Tom, was born to parents Harry and Marie De Roffignac Waters in Newlyn West, Cornwall in 1917. He married Mary Henrietta Mayne in London in 1938.
Tom was a married father of two from Cornwall. He was part of the RAF Volunteer Reserve and served with 53 Squadron at RAF St Eval. In August 1941, Tom was awarded a DFC . His citation in the London Gazette reads:
Pilot Officer William Thomas de Rouffignac WATERS (62342), Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, No. 53 Squadron.
In August, 1941, this officer was pilot of one of two aircraft detailed to search for enemy shipping in the Borkum area. A convoy of one large merchantman escorted by five destroyers was observed and both aircraft flew low over the water to attack. They were met by very heavy fire and, whilst taking avoiding action, a wing of Pilot Officer Waters’ aircraft struck the water and
the tip of the wing was torn off. He then flew into cloud without attacking but, finding that-his aircraft was flying correctly, he again searched for the convoy and, on finding it, attacked in a position which necessitated flying down the line of the enemy fire. Pilot Officer Waters displayed gallantry and determination in the face of strong opposition.
In late December 1941, now flying Hudsons, he was tasked along with around 20 crews, to fly out to Singapore as reinforcements against the Japanese threat after Pearl Harbour. He arrived in Singapore mid January at RAF Tengah as the Japanese bombing escalated. He was now part of 62 Squadron, and was soon staged back to Sumatra to reduce the aircraft losses from the bombing raids.
On January 26th, he was one of 6 Hudsons tasked to attack Japanese forces landing at Endau on the Malay peninsula – the 3rd effort made that day. During the raid, his plane sustained damage, noted by his flight leader, Terry O’Brien, on the return journey. The details of the raid itself are murky, in part due to the chaos that surrounded the last weeks prior to the fall of Singapore. His plane crash landed on final approach to RAF Sembawang, and Tom was killed along with his full crew.
Details of Tom’s DFC are in Terry O’Brien’s book Chasing after Danger covers the exploits of 53 Squadron in England and 62 Squadron in the Far East in more detail. Pilot Officer Waters has a grave marker ay Column 413 at the Kranji War Memorial in Singapore. He is also now honoured at the IBCC along with his Bomber Command colleagues.
Lost with Tom were:
Sgt A L Maslen
Sgt D V Saunders
Sgt G H Horobin