The AIF Project


Regimental number92
Place of birthBrisbane, Queensland
ReligionRoman Catholic
AddressPierce Creek via Crows Nest, Queensland
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation19
Height5' 6.5"
Weight141 lbs
Next of kinFather, Arriness H Watson, Virginia, Pierce Creek via Crows Nest, Queensland
Previous military serviceServed in Troop B, 3rd Darling Downs Light Horse Regiment, Citizen Military Forces.
Enlistment date22 September 1914
Place of enlistmentCrows Nest, Queensland
Rank on enlistmentDriver
Unit name5th Light Horse Regiment, Headquarters
AWM Embarkation Roll number10/10/1
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Sydney, New South Wales, on board TRANSPORT A44 Vestalia on 19 December 1914
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll15th Battalion
FateKilled in Action 4 July 1918
Place of burialCrucifix Corner Cemetery (Plot IX, Row B, Grave 13), Villers-Bretonneux, France
Panel number, Roll of Honour,
  Australian War Memorial
Family/military connectionsFather: 742 Pte Arriness Herbert WATSON, 42nd Bn, died of disease, 25 December 1916; Brother: 3454 Pte Alexander Norman WATSON, 15th Bn, returned to Australia, 19 September 1918.
Other details

War service: Egypt, Western Front

Transferred to 2nd Light Horse Field Ambulance, 8 September 1915.

Admitted to 2nd Light Horse Field Ambulance, Maadi, 6 January 1916; rejoined unit from hospital, 8 January 1916.

Transferred to 15th Bn, 16 April 1916.

Embarked Alexandria to join the British Expeditionary Force, 1 June 1916; disembarked Marseilles, France, 8 June 1916.

Admitted to 4th Australian Field Ambulance, 27 March 1917 (influenza), and transferred to 3rd Australian Field Ambulance; to 3rd Australian Casualty Clearing Station, 1 April 1917 (trench fever); to 1/1 South Midland Casualty Clearing Station, 7 April 1917; to 56th Casualty Clearing Station, 7 April 1916; to 10th General Hospital, Rouen, 9 April 1917; to England, 25 April 1917, and admitted to Bethnal Green Military Hospital, London, 27 April 1917; transferred to 3rd Australian Auxiliary Hospital, Dartford, 16 May 1917; discharged on furlough, 23 May 1917, to report to No 1 Command Depot, Perham Downs, 7 June 1917.

Marched in to Overseas Training Depot, Perham Downs, 19 June 1917.

Married Elsie May STEPHENSON, spinster, aged 23, The Register Office, Pewsey, Wiltshire, 6 September 1917.

Found guilty, 22 August 1917, of neglect of orders in that he was found at Ludgershall about 5.30 a.m. without leave: awarded forfeiture of 3 days' pay.

Proceeded overseas to France, 19 September 1917; rejoined 15th Bn, in the field, 1 October 1917.

Admitted to 3rd Australian Field Ambulance, 3 October 1917, and transferred to 10th Casualty Clearing Station; to 39th General Hospital, Havre, 6 October 1917 (venereal disease: gonorrhoea); discharged, 16 November 1917; total period of treatment for venereal disease: 45 days; rejoined Bn, in the field, 26 November 1917.

Admitted to 4th Australian Field Ambulance, 25 December 1917 (not yet diagnosed, pyrexia), and transferred to 64th West Lancashire Field Ambulance; to 55th Casualty Clearing Station, 8 January 1918; to Ambulance Train No 11, 11 January 1918, and admitted to 5th General Hospital, Rouen, 11 January 1918 (myalgia); to No 2 Convalescent Depot, Rouen, 2 February 1918; to No 11 Convalescent Depot, Buchy, 29 February 1918; to Australian Intermediate Base Depot, Havre, 30 May 1918; rejoined Bn, in the field, 7 June 1918.

Killed in action, 4 July 1918.

Statement, Red Cross File 2870409U, 3250 Pte K. BASSETT, C company, 15th Bn, 26 August 1918: 'Alf Watson C. Coy. was killed on July 4th at Hamel in an attack by us. I was in the stunt myself and made enquiries at the time, but I can't give any special reference. All those killed in that stunt were buried where they fell.'

Second statement, 5520 Pte E. THOMPSON, C Company, 15th Bn (patient, Graylingwell War Hospital, Chichester, England), 12 September 1918: 'He was advancing and killed in the capture of Hamel, and was buried in the Cemetery at Hamel on 4th Jul[.] Buried by battalion Pioneers. Death instantaneous.' Note by interviewer: 'Eye-witness: Yes. Reliable.'

Third statement, 1485 Sergeant W. EASTMAN, 15th Bn (patient, No 6 General Hospital, Rouen), 21 September 1918: 'Watson was in C. Coy. XII Plat. - thje same as I. We were making an attack about 2.30 a.m. against the Germans [sic] positions at Hamel near Villers Bretonneux. We had to go about 1½ miles, our objective being Hamel Wood, which we took about 9.0 a.m. Watson was killed by a shell and fell in a hollow about ¾ miles from our original position. He was buried somewhere near here but I do not know the exact spot. I saw him lying dead there.'

Fourth statement, Lt A.F. NICHOLSON, D Coy, 15th Bn (patient, 3rd London General Hospital, Wandsworth, England), 15 November 1918: 'I saw this man brought in close to Hamel On July 4th 1918. He had been killed by a shell at the objective about 8 A.M. on that day. He was buried in a Cemetery in the face of a cliff above Hun's Walk in front of Corbie near Amiens. That is all I can say. He was a very fine soldier, always willing and fearless. The ground was held.'

Medals: British War Medal, Victory Medal
Miscellaneous detailsFather's first given name incorrectly entered on Embarkation Roll as Alexander.
SourcesNAA: B2455, WATSON Alfred
Red Cross File 2870409U

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