Private James Watson, b1893 – d1918

J Watson

James Watson fought with the Royal Scots in 3rd Battalion. Standing 5 foot 7 and 21 years old when he enlisted, his story is another remarkable one.

Born in Cambuslang on 11th September 1893 to parents Alexander Watson and Janet Scott, he had moved to Springwell, Blantyre by the age of 21 in 1914. That year he married Janet Scott, a cloth factory worker who lived at Spittal Terrace. He did not have time to settle into marriage for the outbreak of war saw him enlisted later that year and he headed for mainland Europe.

It is known he was captured by the Germans as a Prisoner of War on 28th April 1917. Surviving this to be released, his capture had a significant impact on him and his health.

Private James Watson died on 9th December 1918, aged only 25. However, it was not combat action which directly took his life, but instead influenza, no doubt brought on by those terrible winter conditions.

A telegram was sent by wire from the Military Hospital  advising that James was “seriously ill and his next of kin had been informed.” When James died in the Military Hospital in Dover, his next of kin were with him, a “blessing” that many soldiers never had. Arrangements were made to take his body back to Blantyre for burial.

He is buried in the High Blantyre Cemetery. His will is attached. His sacrifice, remembered here. With thanks to Alex Rochead for all these amazing documents.

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