Private George Watt


George Watt was born on 22 January 1897 in George's Street, Dungannon, County Tyrone, the thirteenth of sixteen children (including four sets of twins) of car-proprietor Joseph Watt and his wife Eliza Anne (née Buchanan). By the time of the 1911 Census he was living in George's Street with his parents and six of his nine surviving siblings.

Watt enlisted in the North Irish Horse between 5 and 14 January 1916 (No.2068). He trained at the regiment's Antrim reserve camp before embarking for France in 1916 or the first half of 1917, where he was posted to one of the squadrons of the 1st or 2nd North Irish Horse Regiments.

In August-September 1917 the 2nd NIH Regiment was disbanded and its men, together with some surplus to the needs of the 1st NIH Regiment, were transferred to the Royal Irish Fusiliers, an infantry regiment. Most, including Watt, 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 five days later. Watt was issued regimental number 41332.

No information has been discovered about his service with the 9th (NIH) Battalion through the latter part of 1917 and during 1918.

In August 1921 Watt emigrated to Canada.


Two of Watt's brothers and two of his sisters also served in the war. His twin brother Alexander Watt, serving in the 6th (Inniskilling) Dragoons Service Squadron, was killed in action on 3 July 1916. William Watt, serving in the Canadian Mounted Rifles, was severely wounded in the side and thigh in April 1916. Sarah Watt, a nurse, worked in a VAD hospital in Wiltshire and France. Alicia Watt worked in the Queen Mary's Army Auxiliary Corps, attached to the 9th (Reserve) Battalion, London Regiment. She died of pneumonia on 30 November 1918 and is buried in the Aldershot Military Cemetery. (Their sister Gertrude had died of pneumonia just three days earlier.)