Jock Watt

Jock (Robert/Bob) Watt, 3rd RTR, died on 5 December 2017 and his funeral took place on 4 January 2018.

Jock was 98 years old and would have celebrated his 99th birthday in January 2018.

Several members of the Brotherhood attended his funeral in Leicestershire, including Father John and his wife Georgina, who sang the kontakion, which is from the Memorial Service we hold at the Greek Grove at the National Memorial Arboretum each year. His coffin was borne by ‘tankies’ and standards of the Nottingham Branch Royal Tank Regiment Association, 5 RTR Association and the Brotherhood of Veterans of the 1941 Greek Campaign were carried.

Jock had been a member of the Brotherhood since its early days. He regularly participated in both the Kalamata and National Memorial Arboretum Comemmoration Services and whenever he was present he always carried the Brotherhood standard.

In his retirement years Jock had become a prolific author and there was still a lot of books he planned to write. He was well known and much respected in Kalamata and following his death, messages of condolence were received from Nikos Zervis – our “Man in Kalamata” and Kontothanasis (Kostas) Konstantinos from the Mayor’s office.

Apart from the eulogy given by the priest who conducted the service, a tribute to Jock was also given by Brian Rogers, Secretary of the Nottingham Branch of the RTR Association, written below:

“Jock Watt, a long serving member of Nottingham Branch Royal Tank Regiment Association, our Vice President, a leader, adviser and a man of no nonsense. Highly respected… Jock was 3RTR through and through, rising from trooper to RSM, the youngest RSM in the British Army in WW11.

Jock served in France, Greece, and Crete & North Africa between 1937 – 1946 finishing as a Lieutenant, with the Military Medal and Mentioned in Despatches and was presented to our Colonel in Chief, Her Majesty the Queen more than once, a great honour for a great soldier.

But you know Jock, he had his lighter side, on one occasion in Cambrai, Jock asked where the toilet was; he was directed to the Town Hall where he was sent up the central staircase and looking around saw a fellow Tankie at the end of the corridor, ”Ah”, he thought “I’ll ask this chap”. As he advanced he realised he was talking to himself, it was a large mirror with his own reflection. However he eventually found his destination OK and loved to tell this tale and laugh at his own expense.

Over the past few years we have lost all our WWII veterans to the green fields but typically Jock was “last man standing” we would expect no less of him, would we? In recent times, Jock had not had the best of health but still enjoyed life and his writing, “A Tankie’s Tales” amongst other books, and he gave me a short poem, which I shall read:

“How wonderful it is just to be alive I cannot see to read and my writing is a scribble, But I feel the sun, hear the birds and really have no quibble, The pangs of hunger when I yawn tell me I’m still here, I just face the world of daily life and really have no fear, I burn my fingers, spill my tea, drop marmalade on the floor, But any problems causing stress, I just show them the door. “Jock Watt

Robert Jock Watt, thanks for everything. A great friend. A great man. A great Tankie. Rest in peace in the Green Fields, good soldier. Fear Naught.”

The eulogy says it all. There is no need for us to say any more, except that we all feel very privileged to have known Jock. The Brotherhood will miss him.