A WWII Veteran Who Was Instrumental In The Sinking Of The Bismarck Has Died At 97

The sinking of the Bismarck
The sinking of the Bismarck

Lt Cdr John “Jock” Moffat has died at the age of 97.  He was a World War II veteran who played a part in sinking the Bismarck.  He is credited with firing the torpedo that crippled the infamous German warship.

The Royal Navy announced Moffat’s death.

Britain had one chance to destroy the German warship before it reached the open sea. They sent the aircraft carriers HMS Victorious and Ark Royal on May 26, 1941, to finish off the German ship that had caused them so much trouble in the war.

Moffat and his crew took off in a Swordfish L9726 from the Ark Royal and flew into heavy rain, low hanging clouds, and strong winds.

He flew at 50 feet through bullet fire and shells in order to have the best angle of attack. At 9:05 pm, he dropped his torpedo. It hit, jamming the rudder of the Bismarck.

The battleship sailed in circles until the Royal Navy’s home fleet arrived the next morning. Moffat remembered flying through the bullets to get to the Bismarck.

“The great thing about the Swordfish was that the bullets just went straight through,” he went on.  “After all, it was only made of canvas. It was like David and Goliath.”

John William Charlton Moffat was born in June 1919, in Kelso, in the Scottish Borders.

He joined the Royal Navy as a reservist in 1938 and received a post on the Ark Royal after he qualified as a pilot.  He was assigned to 159 Naval Air Squadron, but by the end of his eight years of service, he had served with four squadrons.

After the war, he worked as a hotel manager, The Telegraph reported, but he continued to love flying. He took to the skies again in his 60s and flew right into his early 90s.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE