Heroic Flt.Sgt. Hoyle DFM & His Movado “Weems”

We were recently contacted by an elderly gentleman who advised he had a watch which may prove to be of interest to us.

The gentleman believed his watch bore a striking resemblance to the rare Movado “Weems” Mk VIIA 6B/159 c.1940 featured on our website. Sure enough, his watch was the same and it came with some interesting history regarding its original owner.

The “Weems” Mk VIIA 6B/159 wristwatches were issued to pilots and navigators of the RAF during WW2 and feature a moveable outer bezel which is set to the second hand to calculate longitude to aid navigation. The watch takes its name from Lt.Cdr P.V. Weems, who was a well-known aviator, navigator and instructor at the Naval Officer School at Annapolis, Maryland, in the U.S.A.

There were five manufacturers of these very special timepieces; Longines, Omega, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Zenith and Movado. It is believed only around 7,000 were issued to the RAF in 1940, with the Movado being one of the rarest to be found today.

Historic WWII Movado Weems Mk VIIA 6B/159 Watch
Movado “Weems” Mk VIIA 6B/159 c.1940
WWII Movado Weems Mk VIIA 6B/159 case back with RAF markings
Reverse case back with elaborate Air Ministry markings


The above Movado “Weems” was the former property of Flt.Sgt. William Royston Hoyle DFM (1481202), who was a Navigator and Gunner with RAF No 206 Coastal Command.

RAF Coastal Command played a pivotal role during WW2, most notably against Hitler’s U-boats during the Battle of the Atlantic.

Britain’s wartime leader, Winston Churchill, is famously quoted as saying “The only thing that ever really frightened me during the war was the U-boat peril”.

According to his service records, Flt.Sgt. Hoyle was a supremely courageous man who served with some distinction during WW2.

On 20 July 1944, Hoyle survived the loss of his Liberator (GR.VI EV873) when it crashed on take-off at the end of the runway at RAF Luechars in Fife, Scotland. The aircraft is reported to have been carrying 2,000 gallons of fuel and twelve 250lb depth charges, which exploded. Eight members of the crew were killed, with Hoyle and one other being thrown out of the aircraft on impact.

Hoyle was badly injured from the crash and was admitted to hospital and remained on sick leave until the 5th of September. He returned to active flying duties on the 12th of September 1944.

Hoyle was later awarded the Distinguished Flying Medal (DFM). This was partly due to his actions during an attack on U-boat 858 on 19th September 1944.

The citation for his DFM is as follows:

Sorties 17

Flying Hours 191.5

Navigator (B).


On 19th September, 1944, Flight Sergeant Hoyle, who was a Navigator in this crew, was relieving an Air Gunner in a mid-upper turret in an aircraft, Liberator BZ.9804 (“S”/206) which made an attack on a partially submerged U-Boat in position 62’20’ North, 02’30’ East at approximately 19.10 hour. At a range of two miles, the U-Boat’s guns were completely silenced. His actions in the mid-upper turret clearly illustrates the great value of this turret in a daylight attack on a U-Boat. On 20th July, 1944, Flight Sergeant Hoyle was involved in an aircraft crash in which eight members of his crew were killed. He himself was badly injured, was in Hospital and on sick leave until 5th September. On 12th September, he re-commenced operations. In spite of a very harrowing experience and personal injuries, he was shown exceptional keenness and devotion to duty. His offensive spirit is of the highest order and he is an example and inspiration to all. I very strongly recommend that he be awarded an immediate Distinguished Flying Medal.

Remarks by Station Commander.

Flight Sergeant Hoyle has shown outstanding courage and devotion to duty. He is a strong, determined character and a very real asset to his squadron. I most strongly recommend that he be awarded an immediate Distinguished Flying Medal.

Report from 206 Squadron Archives confirming the attack on U-858 on 19 September 1944


Movado "Weems" with London Gazette extract showing the DFM award
The award of Flt.Sgt. Hoyle’s DFM in the London Gazette on Friday 3rd November 1944

There are some interesting websites which include details on Flt.Sgt. Hoyle and the actions of him and his crew, links to which are as follows:



Remarkably, some original wartime footage of U-858 surrendering to US forces in May 1945 can be viewed below:


Sadly, Hoyles’ Liberator (GR Mk VI EV885 “M”) failed to return from an anti-U-boat patrol on 28 September 1944. Hoyle and the rest of his crew were reported missing, and all were later presumed dead.

Flt.Sgt. Hoyle was just 23 years old.

Report from 206 Squadron Archives confirming Hoyle’s Liberator (GR Mk VI EV885 “M”) failing to return on 28 September 1944

A letter of provenance from Hoyles’ family accompanies the watch with a file containing all the available details relating to his service.

Interestingly, Flt. Sgt Hoyle was always referred to as Royston by his family and his elderly relative who contacted us was given the middle name, Royston, in his memory.

Flt.Sgt. Hoyles’ Movado “Weems” survived and was returned to his mother because, for reasons unknown, he preferred to wear his own personal watch rather than his service-issued timepiece. His mother wore the Movado for the rest of her life, presumably to commemorate her late son.

The watch is in wonderful original condition and merely requires a service and replacement bezel locking crown before it is offered for sale on our website.

Movado Weems Mk VIIA 6B/159 Watch

Flt.Sgt. Hoyles’ Movado “Weems” is a rare and remarkable survivor. However, what we believe to be even more remarkable is Hoyle and his steadfast dedication and devotion to duty, particularly at such a young age.

As mentioned in his Distinguished Flying Medal citation, Flt.Sgt. Hoyle is an inspiration and example to us all, and it gives us great pride and pleasure to be custodians, albeit temporarily, of his very special Movado “Weems”.

The watch is a true “grail” find, particularly to collectors who appreciate the incredible history of such pieces and the immense sacrifices made by the brave men and women who wore them.

Thank you for your interest.