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John Moffatt


1919 -

Wartime aviator. Born in Kelso, Moffatt was brought up in Selkirk. At the outbreak of the Second World War, he joined the air-training school in Belfast to learn to fly, before accepting a commission into the Royal Naval Fleet Reserve Fleet Air Arm. In 1941, serving on board HMS Ark Royal, Lieutenant Commander Moffatt was one of the pilots ordered to hunt for German pocket-battleship Bismarck and the heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen. Having harried allied shipping in the North Atlantic and sunk the battlecruiser HMS Hood, once the pride of the Royal Navy, Bismarck had managed to evade the pursuing British, and owing to its great speed, there was a very real chance she would have made the safety of port. However, on the 26th May 1941 Moffatt piloting one of a squadron of fragile Swordfish torpedo bombers spotted the Bismarck. His torpedo disabled the German ship's steering gear, forcing her in circles and making her easy prey for the closing British battle-fleet. The Bismarck was sunk the same day.

Moffatt went on to serve in various other aircraft carriers until the end of the war. He now lives in Dunkeld, although has contributed to television programmes such as Shipwreck Arc Royal (2006) for the BBC.


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