Topic: John Walker Watt (1874-1963)

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John Walker Watt served during both the South African War (Boer War) (1899-1902) and World War I (1914-1918). He was wounded in the left eye and right shoulder in France on 21 September 1916. John was my third great uncle - Debbie McCauley.

John Walker Watt was born in Rangitikei on 5 December 1874 (reg. 1874/42654). His parents were Alexander (1838-1900) and Anne Watt (nee Gerrie) (1837-1908) who married in Inverurie, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, on 8 March 1859. They arrived in New Zealand aboard the Queen of the Avon in 1859.

John enlisted in the Hunterville Mounted Rifles Volunteers when they were formed on 10 September 1900. 

At age twenty-seven and along with younger brother Charles Watt (1880-1915) he joined the 9th New Zealand Contingent from Auckland on 25 February 1902 for service in the South African War (Boer War) (1899-1902). He was a Private, his Service Number 7378 and his brother's 7379.

John was discharged on 26 August 1902 and awarded the South African Medal with Clasps 'South Africa 1902' and 'Transvaal'.

He was working as a farmer in Fielding when he enlisted from Featherston for World War I on 8 February 1916. His enlistment papers note that he had a scar from a hernia operation, and that he was forty-one years of age.

John embarked from Wellington aboard the SS Tofua on 27 May 1916. He arrived in Devon, England and then the Cape of Good Hope on 27 July 1916. He was with the New Zealand Expeditionary Force (NZEF), 13th Reinforcements, J Company. 

His brother Charles was killed in action at Gallipoli on 30 May 1915.

On 21 September 1916 John was wounded in the left eye and right shoulder in France and sent to the 13th Casualty Clearing Station. He was admitted to the No. 5 General Hospital in Rouen. He embarked for England aboard the hospital ship St. Andrews.  In England he was admitted to the No. 1 New Zealand General Hospital in Brockenhurst on 27 September 1916. He also spent time at Hornchurch.

On 12 January 1917 he embarked for New Zealand aboard the Arawa and on 3 April 1917 he was discharged from military service as 'no longer physically fit for war service on account of wounds received in action'.

In 1922, at the age of forty-seven, John married Emily Margaret Arthur (reg. 1922/4318). Emily was born on 14 June 1886. They had one child together:

  1. Stillborn Watt (1924-1924). Stillborn in 1924 (reg. 1924/17890).

John died at the age of eighty-eight, on 15 January 1963 (reg. 1963/35350). He was buried in Hamilton Park Cemetery on 18 January 1963.

Emily died, aged ninety-seven, on 5 April 1984 (reg. 1984/32464). She was buried in Hamilton Park Cemetery on 9 April 1984.



Births, Deaths and Marriages Online (New Zealand).

Cenotaph Database (World War I).

Hamilton Cemetery Records Online.

Military personnel file (Archives New Zealand).

New Zealand Herald (11 October 1916, p. 9).

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John Walker Watt (1874-1963)

Note:Service Number: 13492
First Names:John Walker
Last Name:Watt
Date of Birth:5 December 1874
Place of Birth:Rangitikei
Country of birth:New Zealand
Date of death:15 January 1963
Place of death:New Zealand
Place of burial:Hamilton Park Cemetery
Spouses name:Emily Margaret Arthur
Spouses date of birth:14 June 1886
Spouses date of death:5 April 1984
Spouses place of death:New Zealand
Spouses place of burial:Hamilton Park Cemetery
Date of marriage:1922
Place of marriage:New Zealand
Fathers name:Alexander Watt
Fathers date of birth:1838
Fathers place of birth:Scotland
Fathers date of death:15 June 1900
Fathers place of death:Hunterville, New Zealand
Mothers name:Ann Gerrie
Mothers date of birth:1837
Mothers place of birth:Scotland
Mothers date of death:1 July 1908
Mothers place of death:Hunterville, New Zealand
Military Service:South African War (Boer War) (1899-1902) and World War I (1914-1918)