Private Archibald Denis Watts


This North Irish Horseman was probably the Archibald Denis Watts born on 9 March 1899 in Coventry, Warwickshire, the first of three children of athletic outfitter's assistant Denis Digby Watts and his wife Ada (née Howard). By the time of the 1911 Census he was living at 16 Chepstow Road, Leicester, with his widowed father and two sisters.

Watts enlisted in the cavalry probably around April 1917 (No.34191), and was posted to the 3rd Reserve Regiment of Cavalry at Aldershot, a unit which trained men for the 11th, 13th, 15th and 19th Hussars, the Buckinghamshire Yeomanry, Leicestershire Yeomanry, Staffordshire Yeomanry, Wiltshire Yeomanry and Sherwood Rangers.

Later that year or in early 1918 Watts embarked for France, where he was posted to the 1st North Irish Horse Regiment. This regiment served as corps cavalry to VII, XIX, then V Corps from its establishment in 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.

Watts was wounded in late August or early September 1918 during the initial phase of the Advance to Victory offensive. On 1 February 1919 he was demobilised and transferred to Class Z, Army Reserve.

After the war Watts returned to Leicester, where in 1924 he married May Ratcliffe. At the time of the 1939 Register they were living at 12 Fieldhouse Road, Leicester, Archibald working as a hosiery production foreman. He died in the Leicester General Hospital on 8 January 1950.