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Robin 'Bubbles' Waterston - full of enthusiasm but killed in the first few days of action

Robin McGregor Waterston was born in 1917 in Edinburgh and attended Melville College (now Stewart's Melville College).

He joined 603 Squadron, Auxiliary Air Force at Turnhouse in 1937. He was then studying in Scotland for an engineering degree.

Image courtesy of and copyright the David Ross Collection.

Called to full-time service on 24th August 1939, Waterston was serving with 603 Squadron, by then at Dyce, in early July 1940. About this time he picked up the nickname 'Bubbles' by his fellow pilots on account of his bubbly, effervescent personality. No matter what he was involved with, he forever exhibited a joyful, youthful exuberance. His unquestioning acceptance of everyone and his unconscious charm made him the most popular member of the squadron. Richard Hillary described him in the Last Enemy in this way: "Bubble Waterston was 24 but he looked 18 with his short cropped hair and open face. He too had been with the squadron for some time before the war. He had great curiosity about anything mechanical and was always tinkering with the engine of his car or motorbike.” (Ross, p62, RH)

On the 20th he shared a Do17, shot down into the North Sea thirty miles east of Aberdeen. The squadron was sent south to Hornchurch in late August and Waterston claimed a Me109 destroyed on 30th August over Canterbury. He returned to Hornchurch with a punctured oil tank after being attacked by other 109s.

The next day Waterston was killed in a combat over London and is believed to have been shot down by Me109s of I/JG3. He was either unconscious or already dead when his Spitfire, X4273, was seen to emerge from the haze and spin out of control into the ground near Repository Road in Woolwich, South London.

Waterston was 23.

He was cremated at Warriston Crematorium, Edinburgh.

In 2009 his crash site was marked by a permanent memorial by the Shoreham Aircraft

Museum (for more information click here)

Photos and text courtesy of Battle of Britain Monument website

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