Major Patch Watson

Major ‘Patch’ Watson. Information courtesy of Liz in Eastbourne on the Great War Forum. Arthur Watson was a colourful figure who had always wanted to be a soldier, but was initially thwarted because of the loss of his right eye in a shooting accident. But he was a fine rider and, in September 1914, secured a commission with the Army Remounts Service responsible for provisioning and training horses for war. He was 46.Watson transferred to the 21st Battalion of the King’s Royal Rifle Corps (21 K.R.R.C) and, in May 1916, was sent to France. He was badly wounded at the Battle of the Somme but, after recovering, returned to France, commanding his Company at the Battle of Messines, June 1917.The Battle of Passchendaele began 8 weeks later. 21 K.R.R.C had a supporting role attacking the German forces, before being moved back from the front line into reserve. Watson had just been given a transfer to Britain but, before he left, decided to say goodbye to his comrades. As he picked up a bundle of the soldiers’ letters to take back with him, an enemy shell exploded nearby and he was terribly injured. He died of his wounds 5 August 1917 and was buried at La Clytte Military Cemetery, Belgium.

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