Private Thomas Watson


Thomas Watson was born on 31 October 1894 at Ballyreagh, Tempo, County Fermanagh, the seventh of eight children of farmer Francis Watson and his wife Margaret Jane (née Thompson). At the time of the 1911 Census he was living at Ballyreagh with his widowed father and four of his siblings, and working as a grocer's assistant.

Watson enlisted in the 6th (Inniskilling) Dragoons Service Squadron on 8 October 1914 (No. UD/46). On 6 October 1915 the squadron, which was then serving as divisional cavalry to the 36th (Ulster) Division, embarked for France. Watson, however, remained at the reinforcements depot at Enniskillen. He was sent to France as a reinforcement for the squadron in 1916 or the first half of 1917.

In June 1916 the Inniskilling squadron joined with C and F Squadrons of the North Irish Horse to form the 2nd North Irish Horse Regiment, serving as corps cavalry to X Corps. In August-September 1917 the regiment was disbanded and its men, following training at the 36th (Ulster) Division Infantry Base Depot at Harfleur, were transferred to the Royal Irish Fusiliers, an infantry regiment. Most, including Watson, were transferred on 20 September and posted to the 9th (Service) Battalion – renamed the 9th (North Irish Horse) Battalion – joining it in the field at Ruyaulcourt. Watson was issued regimental number 41374 and posted to B Company.

He probably saw action with the battalion at the Battle of Cambrai in November and December 1917.

Watson was one of the many posted as missing following the 9th (NIH) Battalion's fighting withdrawal from St Quentin from 21 to 28 March 1918 during the German spring offensive. It was later learned that he had been wounded, in the right shoulder.

The injury was serious and he was evacuated to the UK for treatment. On 2 October 1918 he was discharged, being no longer physically fit for war service (paragraph 392 (xvi), King's Regulations). He was granted a pension due to the wound, his level of disability assessed at 50 per cent in June 1920.

His name is included on the Tempo Church of Ireland Roll of Honour.



Image of the Tempo Honour Roll kindly provided by Nigel Henderson, Researcher at History Hub Ulster.


This page last updated 31 March 2024.