Here at the Comox Air Force Museum, we have among our ever growing collections a very rare situation. It is the story of two Georges and two Waters. That is to say two George Medals given to two recipients named Waters.
I work as a volunteer at the Museum, but didn’t know of this
until I was told one day from another person. I decided to look into it and bring the story out into the light.
To think 2 George Medals awarded, one to a civilian, the other to an airman, awarded in two different parts of the world, to two men with the same name, coming together here in Comox.
The George Medal is awarded primarily to civilians, and is only awarded to a Military member for an action for which purely military honours are not normally granted.
Indeed it would be an achievement for any museum to have one George Medal but here in Comox we are privileged to have two.
The documents below are available at the Comox Air Force Museum Library.
Master Robert Thomas Waters ( aged 14 years).
On the afternoon of 24 November, 1952, a Lancaster Aircraft which was returning from an instrument practice flight crashed and burned near RCAF Station, Comox BC.
Robert Waters. A lad of 14 years of age, who was in the immediate vicinity was an eye witness to the crash and promptly summoned assistance. In order to reach the flaming aircraft it was necessary for him to fight his way through heavy bush and swamp. On reaching the burning wreckage, young Waters noticed one of the occupants, he was later identified as the pilot, inside his flaming aircraft. Despite the intense heat and the real danger of an explosions, He displayed complete disregard for his own safety by entering the burning aircraft and dragging the dazed and injured occupant to safety. This young lad’s courageous actions under the most dangerous and harassing circumstances was undoubtedly responsible for the saving of the life of the pilot.
Master Corporal Harry John Waters.
On July 21st 1955, a Royal Canadian Air Force Sabre jet crashed and burst into flames on the airbase at 1 Flight Wing, Marville, France. Leading aircraftman Waters, an aero engine technician who was at work in the vicinity, immediately ran approximately 250 yards to the aircraft. Without hesitation, completely disregarding his own safety, rushed into the flames, despite exploding ammunitions, to assist Flight Lieutenant Morgan, although aware of the increasing danger, until the canopy was broken open and the pilot, who was semi-conscious and later found to have sustained a broken back, was removed to safety.
Leading Aircraftsman Waters prompt and courageous conduct played a significant part in saving the life of the pilot, despite grave risk to himself of serious injuries or death. His unselfish act of bravery is worthy of the highest praise.
After my insert of the blog on Bobby Waters it was a nice surprise to receive an email from a relative who had read the piece, and was surprised to see the pictures which had been inserted, as she was not aware of any pictures. I emailed her back and explained that in the Museum archives we had some 50 pictures including the crash scene, the military presentation and the medal presentation by the Governor General. Not knowing where this lady lived, I mentioned that if possible, if she or other family members could visit the Museum, I would be delighted to show her/them the files.
On Thursday the 17 July, to my surprise, a lady, her daughter and three granddaughters came into the Museum, where we had a wonderful visit, sharing all the pictures and information that we had at our disposal. Many memories and tears. They were all family members, the young ones did not know of this heroic story.
It was mentioned about the times spent together, boating, fishing and family times with “Uncle Bobby.”