Lance Corporal John Watson


John Watson was born on 18 June 1883 at Ballyreagh, Tempo, County Fermanagh, the second of eight children of farmer Francis Watson and his wife Margaret Jane (nee Thompson). By the time of the 1911 Census he was living at Ballyreagh with his father and five siblings and working on the family farm.

Watson enlisted in the North Irish Horse between 28 June and 29 July 1912 (No.713). He embarked for France with C Squadron on 20 August 1914, seeing action on the retreat from Mons and advance to the Aisne.

In late 1915 or early January 1916 Watson either fell ill or was wounded. One record suggests he was gassed, another that he received a bullet or shell wound. He was evacuated to the UK on 13 January 1916.

Watson recovered, but not sufficiently to resume front-line duties. On 13 January 1917 he was transferred to the Military Foot Police (No. P/6237) with the rank of lance corporal, and posted for duty in Ireland. He remained in that role throughout the war, and was discharged on 12 March 1919.

On 30 January 1918 he married Margaret Anne Cathcart in St Jude's Church of Ireland Church, Belfast.

Watson received a pension for some years following his discharge, the cause of his disabilities listed as 'gunshot wound, disordered action of the heart and myalgia'.