Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Captain Harold Watson, an Army Padre of WW2

A view of St Bees village, St Bees valley and the Irish Sea, the home village of Captain the Reverend Harold Watson
(c. 1950).
[St Bees Priory Church, where Captain Watson's funeral service was held is in the centre of the village]
Captain, the Reverend Harold Watson (Service No 38843) served with the Royal Army Chaplain’s Department in the early part of the Second World War. Although a resident of St Bees, Captain Watson and his father had worked at the nearby village of Cleator at Cleator Forge. He died as the result of an accident in the south of England (probably at or near St Albans, Hertfordshire). At the time of his death, on 12 November 1941, Captain Watson was 32 years old and married with one child.

The Commonwealth War Graves citation for Captain Watson reads as follows:

In Memory of Chaplain 4th Class The Rev. HAROLD WATSON
Service No 38843, Royal Army Chaplains' Department
Attached to the 7th Battalion, Border RegimentDied aged 32 on 12 November 1941.Son of Dacre and Mary E. Watson, of St. Bees.
Husband of Doris Watson, of St. Bees.Remembered with honour:
For additional information about Captain Harold Watson, click on 'Comments' below.


Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

Additional information about Captain Harold Watson:

Prior to WW2 Captain Watson had held a commission in the Territorial Army (Border Regiment) and had assisted his father, Mr Dacre Watson of St Bees, Cumberland at Cleator Forge before becoming a clergyman. Upon the outbreak of war Captain Watson rejoined his old regiment, and was serving as padre for the 7th Battalion The Border Regiment at the time of his death.

Captain Watson’s body was brought back to his home village for the Military Funeral. His coffin lay overnight in St Bees Priory Church before the funeral service on Saturday 15 November 1941. The coffin was draped with the Union Flag and members of St Bees Home Guard carried the coffin to the Churchyard for burial. The Vicar of St Bees, Reverend E.A. Sampson conducted the funeral service. Several serving officers and men of the Border Regiment also attended the service. Among the many floral tributes, there was one from the Officers, NCOs and men of “A Company”, the Commanding Officer and all ranks of the 7th Battalion that read:

“In Memory of a Real Pal”.

According to ‘The Whitehaven News’ report dated 20 November 1941 referring to the unfortunate death of Captain Watson, it also mentions that his younger brother serving in the Royal Navy - Second Officer N Watson - had been awarded the George Medal for gallantry at sea.

Tuesday, 01 April, 2008  
Blogger Frank mee said...

Army Padre's were always welcome by troops in out posts away from Base. They usually brought gifts in the way of cigarettes or the odd bottle of beer, sometimes the mail which had been held up in some base post office.
It was also a new face with outside news so no matter what denomiation we would crowd round and listen.
Most would give us a talk on something topical then add a bit of bible talk and then take away their own people for a chat although they were always ready to listen to anyone with a worry.
I had nothing but respect for those travelling Padre's which is more than could be said for some of the base people.

Wednesday, 02 April, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Harold Watson was my Great Uncle and my father Ken Watson (Who served as an engineer throughout the war in the Merchant Navy), always spoke very highly of him.

I was always told he died of pneumonia after sleeping out in a ditch on exercise, not an accident.

Uncle Norman, served in The Merchant Navy (not the Roayal Navy), and was awarded the George and Lloyd medals for throwing an unexploded bomb overboard.

Monday, 29 September, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

as another member of the Watson family interesting to read a piece of family history I wasn't aware of.

Norman Watson was my grandfather.

Saturday, 09 November, 2013  

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