Private Herbert Boyd Watt


Herbert Boyd Watt was born on 9 January 1886 at Ballybrick, Banbridge, County Down, the last of seven children of farmer Robert Watt and his wife Annie (née Herron). Soon after this the family moved to Belfast, where Herbert's mother died just before his fourth birthday. By the time of the 1901 Census he was living at 16 Rutland Street, Belfast, with his father and step-mother, and working as an apprentice carpenter. Ten years later he was living as a boarder at 116 Clumber Street, Newcastle-on-Tyne, and working as a seedsman in a warehouse.

Watt enlisted in the North Irish Horse between 28 June and 19 July 1916 (No.2214 – later Corps of Hussars No.71713). He trained at the regiment's Antrim reserve depot before embarking for France in 1917 or 1918, where he was posted to one of the squadrons of the 1st North Irish Horse Regiment.

The 1st NIH Regiment served as corps cavalry to VII, XIX, then V Corps from May 1916 until February-March 1918, when it was dismounted and converted to a cyclist unit, serving as corps cyclists to V Corps until the end of the war.

Watt was wounded in the right wrist in the last week of August 1918 at the beginning of the Advance to Victory offensive. Whether he returned to his squadron at the front is not presently known, but it seems probable, for on 21 October he was admitted to No.34 Casualty Clearing Station suffering from a carbuncle on his right thigh.

On 5 February 1919 Watt was demobilised and transferred to Class Z, Army Reserve.

Following the war Watt returned to England. At the time of the 1939 Register he was living with his wife Ellen at 6 Larcombe Avenue, Birkenhead, Lancashire, and working as a 'wholesale agricultural seed expert, sales department'. He died on 19 May 1954.