Friends of the Somme - Mid Ulster Branch  
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86869   Private William James Watson
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Dated added: 07/02/2017   Last updated: 04/06/2020
Personal Details
Regiment/Service: 16th Company, Machine Gun Corps (British Army)
Date Of Birth: 08/06/1897
Died: 20/11/1917 (Killed in Action)
Age: 20
Summary      
William James Watson was the eldest son of James and Sarah Ann Watson. He was born on 8th June 1897 in Caledon, County Tyrone. By the time of the 1901 census, the family had moved to Knocknagoney, Ballyhackamore, County Down. His father, James Watson, was an agricultural labourer. William was with the Royal Army Service Corps for a time. Private William James Watson was serving with the 16th Company of the Machine Gun Corps (Infantry) when he was killed in action on Tuesday 20th November 1917. His parents lived at 78 Church Street East, Belfast.
Further Information
William James Watson was the eldest son of James and Sarah Ann Watson. James Watson married Sarah McLean on 9th April 1891 in the district of Dungannon.
William James Watson was born on 8th June 1897 in Caledon, County Tyrone. He was one of five children, four surviving.
By the time of the 1901 census, William James was age 3, living with the family at house 9 in Knocknagoney, Ballyhackamore, County Down. His father, James Watson, was an agricultural labourer.
Family: James Watson, Sarah Ann Watson, Catherine Watson (born 20th January 1893, Caledon), William James Watson (born 8th June 1897, Caledon), Samuel Watson (born 12th June 1901, Belfast), Margaret Watson (born 24th September 1903, Belfast), Thomas Watson (born 16th December 1907, Belfast).
The 1911 census lists William as age 13, living with the family at house 24 in Knocknagoney, Ballyhackamore. William was still at school.
Medal card
William was with the Royal Army Service Corps for a time.
Private William James Watson was serving with the 16th Company of the Machine Gun Corps (Infantry) when he was killed in action on Tuesday 20th November 1917.
In his will he left all to his mother, who was living at Church Street East, Belfast.
Last Will and Testament of Private William Watson dated 13th April 1916:
In the event of my death, I leave all I possess to my mother Mrs Watson, 78 Church Street East, Newtownards Road, Belfast, Ireland. Private William Watson, 16th Machine Gun Corps.
Private W J Watson is buried in Ribecourt British Cemetery. Ribecourt was taken on the 20th November 1917 by the 6th Division, but at the conclusion of the Battle of Cambrai it remained practically on the British front line; it was lost in March 1918 and recaptured by the 3rd and 42nd (East Lancashire) Divisions on the following 27th September.
The CWGC record Private W J Watson as the son of James and Sarah Ann Watson of 78 Church Street East, Belfast.
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Relevant Dungannon Area Locations
No Location Region Location Notes Longtitude Latitude
1 Caledon area Caledon Born in Caledon area 54.354216 -6.838556
GRONI References
TYPE - B:Birth M:Marriage D:Death | GRONI | SIBLING: brother or sister | NOTES: spelling inconsistencies, etc.
Date Type Surname First name Relationship GRONI Ref Notes
09/04/1891 M McLean Sarah Parent M/1891/T1/1435/1/40b McClean
09/04/1891 M Watson James Parent M/1891/T1/1435/1/40a
20/01/1893 B Watson Catherine Sibling U/1893/204/1012/3/213
08/06/1897 B Watson William Casualty U/1897/204/1012/3/378
12/06/1901 B Watson Samuel Sibling U/1901/69/1007/12/485
24/09/1903 B Watson Margaret Sibling U/1903/69/1007/13/300 McLeon
16/12/1907 B Watson Thomas Sibling U/1907/69/1007/14/445
References and Links
No Link Reference Map Doc
1 1901 Census lists Watson family Lists William James as age 3, living with the family at house 9 in Knocknagoney, Ballyhackamore, Down
2 FindAGrave.com Photo of Private William J Watson's gravestone
3 National Archives of Ireland Last Will and Testament of Private William J Watson
4 National Archives UK Medal Card can be purchased here
5 War Graves Photographic Project Photo of Private William J Watson's gravestone can be purchased here
Dungannon District's War Dead Acknowledgements 2015-2021