Joined: 01 Sep 2009
|Posted: Tue Sep 01, 2009 4:37 pm Post subject: Correcting a query Old Aisle Kirkintilloch re L/C HS Watson
|Wonderful to see my relative's stone on this site (Lance Corporal Henry S (tirling) Watson kia 14 Nov 1917.
You query the inclusion of his having been awarded the (Belgian) Croix de Guerre on the stone.
I have seen the medal and can confirm that this is a genuine honour, bestowed posthumously (in 1920) by the Belgian Government.
I have as yet been unable to ascertain the circumstances of his death or indeed his award.
Born at 8 Freeland Place, Kirkintilloch on 27 April 1897, L/cpl Watson was in his 2nd year at Glasgow University, having won a bursary as a pupil at Lenzie Academy when he joined up. He was studying French and Chemistry and his company was one of the "specials" which was involved in the early use of chemical warfare. His company saw some very unpleasant action in the area around Dixmude in Belgium and the family story was that he was hit by a shell which killed several of his fellow RE's.
Unlike so many he is at least fortunate to have a known grave (B8 at Steenkerke Belgian Military Cemetery near Veurne/Furnes). Lying next to him are 2 fellow RE's who also died on 14 Nov and a fourth who died the next day. His name appears on the war memorials at Lenzie Academy, Glasgow University, Kirkintilloch War Memorial at Peel Brae and in the Clydesdale Bank, Cowgate, Kirkintilloch (on the site of the former YMCA buildings (he was a member) where the old YMCA war memorial names have been carefully transcribed to a smart new memorial.
Not included on the stone is Henry's elder brother, James (1894-1980) who was employed at one of the Kirkintilloch Foundries in the drawing office and joined the (16th?) HLI. Other than the loss of the tip of a finger James was one of the lucky ones to see action ,as far as I know, for the full duration of the war and to come out alive. he lived to enjoy a long life.
Henry was commemorated by a poem written by R G Rodger, well known in Kirkintilloch, who wrote a number of "In Memoriam's" for Kirkintilloch soldiers, including several to casualties commemorated at Old Aisle (not least William Sunter, son of his schoolpal W Sunter senior and Editor of the Kirkintilloch Herald), many of which appeared in the Kirkintilloch Herald. R G Rodger also published a book to raise funds for the Dunbartonshire Disabled Soldiers and Sailors Fund.