Ernest Watson

Name

Ernest Watson

Conflict

First World War

Date of Death / Age

12/07/1918
20

Rank, Service Number & Service Details

Private
114728
Machine Gun Corps (Infantry)
48th Bn.

Awards

British War and Victory medals

Cemetery/Memorial

MAZARGUES WAR CEMETERY, MARSEILLES
III. A. 45.
France

Headstone

>Not Researched

UK Memorials

St Mary the Virgin Church, Therfield, Non-conformist Chapel, Therfield,

Pre War

Born on 29th Jun 1898 in The Bank, Therfield, Herts. son of Joseph and Jane (Gatward) Watson and christened on 7th Aug 1898 in Therfield. He was living there in 1901 and 1911.


In 1891 the family, parents and five children: George (16), Henry (11), Frank (9), Kitty A (6) and Edith M (3), were living at The Bank, Therfield. James was working as an agricultural labourer.


By 1901 James was now working as a horsekeeper and four more children had been born: Frederick (9), William A (7), Eliza (5) and now Ernest the youngest at 2. It is interesting to note that the five children mentioned previously are absent from the census.


By 1911 only three children Three sons were still living at home and the couple who had been married for 39 years had 13 children, 11 of whom were still living. Ernest was now 12.


He enlisted on 14th Fenruary 1917.

Wartime Service

Ernest enlisted in Hitchin on Valentine’s Day 1917. He was first in the Essex Regiment with the number 23506 then he was transferred into 48th Bn.  Machine Gun Corps and attached to the 48th. South Midland Division with number 114728.

We know from his medals card that he went over to the battlefields after training as his family received the War and Victory medals.

His service records have not survived so it is impossible to tell exactly where and when he was in battle but certainly his division was involved in the Battles of Ypres during the period August to October 1917. On November 10th orders were received for the division to move to Italy.

His division was involved during March and April 1918 in holding the line in the Martello Sector if Italy then were very involved in the Battle of the Piave (15th and 16th June) . 

The Royston Crow newspaper reported that Ernest was severely wounded on June 16th. His leg was amputated at the base hospital on the 25th. Despite this he wrote a cheerful letter home, but his condition deteriorated and he died on the 12th July. 

The Matron wrote to his mother: "his birthday (29 June) had not been forgotten as the nurses put some trifles - chocolate, writing paper and eau de cologne into a bag for him".

Ernest is buried in Mazargues War Cemetery in Marseilles, France,  Plot 3.A. 45.

Additional Information

Brother of Frederick Watson died 9 Jun 1916 and also listed on this same memorial.

Acknowledgments

Malcolm Lennox, Jean Handley