Just once, in a raid over Düsseldorf in 1944, Jack Watson said on Thursday, he had a momentary misgiving about the carpet bombing of German cities that became, after World War II, one of the most controversial aspects of the Allied operations that won the war.

It came on a rare daylight raid as Mr. Watson, a flight engineer and an occasional bomb-aimer, looked down from 20,000 feet and released the payload beneath him in one of the four-engined Lancaster aircraft that were the workhorses of the Royal Air Force Bomber Command.

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