John Graham WATSON

John Graham WATSON

Per his military service record (regimental no. 4909), John Graham Watson was born at Katoomba, N.S.W.[1]  He gave his age as 25 years, his marital status as single, and his occupation as labourer.  His description on his medical was height 5 feet 9 ½ inches tall, weight 162 lbs., with a medium complexion, blue eyes, and medium hair. His religious denomination was Church of England.  He claimed that he had no previous military service.

He appears to have mistakenly been named as ‘W. Watson’ in The Blue Mountain Echo as one of ‘the lads who answered the call, and marched out with the Coo-ees’ at Katoomba.[2]

He was attested at Springwood by Lieutenant F. Middenway on 8th November 1915 (when the Coo-ees were at Springwood), but did not complete his medical examination until 15th November 1915 at Liverpool.

After completing the Co-ee March he went to Liverpool Camp as reinforcement for the 13th Battalion.

On his embarkation roll his address at time of enrolment was Bent Street, Katoomba, N.S.W., and his next of kin is listed as his sister, Miss E. [Elsie] A. Watson, at the same address.

On 8th March 1916 Private Watson, along with many of the other Coo-ees, departed Sydney on the HMAT A15 Star of England, and arrived in Egypt on 11th April 1916.

On 7th June 1916 Private Watson left Alexandria aboard the Transport Ionian bound for France, and he arrived at Marseilles on 14th June 1916.

Private Watson marched into the 13th Battalion on 19th August 1916 when it was resting and reorganising at Pernois, France.  (Fellow Coo-ee William Stirling Mason from Katoomba had joined the 13th Battalion in France on the same day).

A letter home from another Katoomba soldier, Reg. Duff, dated 15th September 1916, that was published in The Blue Mountain Echo, reported that ‘Snowy Mason and Jack Watson have joined the 13th Battalion’.[3]

On 10th October 1916 Private Watson was promoted to Lance Corporal in the field, in Belgium.

On 21st January 1917 he was promoted to Temporary Corporal.

On 4th February 1917 the 13th Battalion successfully attacked the German Front Line trenches near the village of Guedecourt, France.  During this attack T/Corporal Watson was wounded in action, receiving a gunshot wound to his right leg. (William Stirling Mason was also wounded in action with shrapnel wounds on the same day).  T/Corporal Watson was evacuated and admitted to the 10th General Hospital at Rouen, France, on 7th February 1917.  He also on this date reverted to the rank of Lance Corporal, on being wounded.

On 11th February 1917 Lance Corporal Watson was placed aboard the Hospital Ship Aberdonian for evacuation to England.  On 13th February 1917 he was admitted to the 3rd London General Hospital at Wandsworth.

On 2nd April 1917 he was transferred to the 3rd Australian Auxiliary Hospital at Dartford, England with a gunshot wound to his right foot.  He was discharged on 9th April 1917, and sent to the Number 2 Command Depot at Weymouth, England.

On 3rd May 1917 Lance Corporal Watson was admitted sick to the 1st Australian Dermatological Hospital at Bulford, England.  He was discharged on 21st June 1917, and returned to the Number 2 Command Depot.

On 29th of June 1917 Lance Corporal Watson was transferred to the Number 3 Command Depot at Hurdcott, England.  Soon after he was the sent to the Overseas Training Brigade at Perham Downs.

On 13th August 1917 he departed Southampton bound for France.  On 14th August 1917 he arrived at the 4th Australian Division Base Depot at Le Harve.

On 16th of August 1917 Lance Corporal Watson was admitted to the 39th General Hospital sick.  He was discharged and sent back to the 4th Australian Division Base Depot on 24th August 1917.

On 1st September 1917 he marched into the 13th Battalion when it was resting and reorganising at Verte Rue in France.

On 24th October 1917 Lance Corporal Watson was with the 13th Battalion when it was preparing to move from Ypres to Rheninghelst in Belgium, when he was sent to the 3rd Australian Field Ambulance with gas poisoning, then moved back to the 17th Casualty Clearing Station.  On 26th October 1917 he was admitted to the 9th General Hospital at Rouen, France.  On 6th November 1917 he was placed aboard a hospital ship for evacuation to England.  On 7thth November 1917 he was admitted to the Winchester Military Hospital with severe gas poisoning.

On 7th February 1918 he was transferred to the 1st Australian Auxiliary Hospital at Harefield, England.

On 16th March 1918 Lance Corporal Watson departed England aboard the Transport Kanowna bound for Australia.

He arrived in Australia on 25th May 1918, and was discharged Medically Unfit on 26th July 1918.

[1] NAA: B2455, WATSON J G

[2] ‘March over the Mountains’, The Blue Mountain Echo, 12 November 1915, p. 2. Retrieved September 21, 2015, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article108042142

[3] ‘The Soldiers’ Mailbag’, The Blue Mountain Echo, 10 November 1916, p. 1. Retrieved February 22, 2017, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article108042760

 

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