During early 1901, a young Blantyre man Matthew Watson of Kirkland Place, High Blantyre was off volunteering in the war in South Africa. However, during March that year, he contracted enteric fever, being released from military duties to the local hospital at Mooi River.
Private Watson had volunteered and went out to Africa with the Blantyre contingent of the 2nd V.B.S.R early the previous year in 1900. His father Robert Watson, (also Kirkland Place at the corner of Cemetery Road), had a letter from his son which arrived on 1st April 1901, however, it was written before he got ill and told of everything otherwise being well.
The timing was most unfortunate, for later that morning, after reading his son’s letter, he learned from the newspaper of that same day, that his son had died from fever. The first he knew of that. It was shortly after confirmed that the newspaper report was correct!
Private Watson was well known in Blantyre and his death was mourned by a large circle of friends and family. Many felt for Mr and Mrs Watson on the death of their only son and the unfortunate way they learned about it.
Photo: For illustration only. AI generated, courtesy Blantyre Project.