During the conflicts of the 20th Century former pupils of the George Watson's Boys' College answered their country's call in their hundreds and many made the ultimate sacrifice.
In World War I 605 died, 19.5% of those who served in the armed forces.
In World War II 202 died, 11.2% of those who served in the armed forces.
In addition, one former pupil of George Watson's Ladies' College was killed in World War I and a pupil died in the Korean War. This Roll of Honour provides the facts and the faces behind the stark statistics. It also includes the six members of staff who died in World War I.
These biographies are not complete and there are also several photographs missing, together with a few records that cannot be traced. If you have any further information we would welcome it, please contact us.
You can view the War Records by selecting one of the following links. Alternatively, you can search the Records using the form below, completing as much information as possible.
The younger son of Mr. J. Gershom Adams, architect, Edin., was born in Edinburgh in 1899. After ten years at G.W.C. (1907-17) he entered the service of the British Linen Bank. Previously trained as a Signaller in O.T.C., he joined R.S.F. as a Pte. Later promoted Cpl. and transferred to 1/5th Seaforth Hrs., 51st Div., he served in France on the Marne. After being wounded and gassed near Arras on Aug. 26, 1918, he succumbed to his injuries at Weimereux two days later. He is interred in the British Cemetery at Wimille, near Boulogne.
The son of Mr. J. Affleck, Muirpark, Dalkeith, was born in 1894, and educated at Dalkeith High School. Thereafter he spent four years at G.W.C. (1906-10), where he excelled in Mathematics. He was an enthusiastic School cricketer, and later Hon. Secy. of Dalkeith Club. In Sept. 1914 he gave up an appointment in the National Health Insurance Commission, and enlisted as a Pte. in the 9th R.S. In Feb. 1915 he went overseas to France. He was killed in Sanctuary Wood, Hooge, and interred there, May 8, 1915.
The only son of Rev. W. J. Ainslie, Hawick, was born in 1896 and came to G.W.C. in 1906. He attained considerable reputation as a House and School footballer, being scrum-half in the 1913-14 XV. He left School in 1914 to study in Germany preparatory to entering on a career as C.A. Gazetted to the 12th R.S. in 1914, he served in Flanders during 1915, and was mentioned in Despatches. He was killed by a sniper at the Hohenzollern Redoubt, Battle of Loos, Sept. 28, 1915.
The only son of Mr. T. Ainslie, Penicuik, was born in 1896, and attended G.W.C. 1911-13. He was a keen golfer and bowler. He had served two years as apprentice stockbroker in Edinburgh when he joined the 8th R.S. He was promoted L/Cpl., and was temporarily attached to the 1st R.S.F. Slightly wounded near Serre on Nov. 13, 1916, he was being attended to at a dressing-station, when he was killed by the bursting of a stray shell.
The elder son of Mr. R. S. Aitchison, C.A., Edin., was born in 1895, and attended G.W.C. 1903-13. A member of the Cadet Corps, he attained the rank of Sgt., and having gained certificate 'A,' was gazetted to the 5th R.S. in March 1914. He was an apprentice C.A. when war broke out. Volunteering for foreign service, he accompanied his regiment to Gallipoli and fell in action there.
Born in 1893, was the son of Mr. W. Aitchison, Edin., and attended G.W.C. 1906-10. He left to become a draughtsman in an engineer's office. Enlisting in the 15th R.S., he gained a commission in the 13th R.S., and was subsequently attached to the R.I.F. He was twice wounded and finally reported missing, April 29, 1918. He is now presumed killed.
Was born in 1890 and attended G.W.C. 1901-8. He was one of the original members of the Cadet Corps, and on leaving School was for a time Secy. of the Watsonian 1905 Club. He graduated M.A. in 1912 at Edin. Univ., and was an apprentice C.A. when war broke out. Mobilised with the L. and B. H., he served in France and Macedonia, and became a L/Cpl. Gazetted in Oct. 1917 to the Rifle Bde., he fell in action in France, Mar. 21, 1918.
The younger son of the late Dr. Alexander, Wick, was born there in 1894. He attended G.W.C. 1904-12, rose to the rank of Cpl. in the O.T.C., and was a member of the Shooting VIII. 1912. He studied forestry at Edin. Univ. for two years. Gazetted to the 12th H.L.I. in 1914, he was promoted Lt. in Apr. 1915, and was treacherously shot by a German prisoner at Loos, Aug. 14, 1915.
Born in 1893, was the son of Mr. W. Alexander, Edin. He attended G.W.C. 1900-10, and left to join the staff of the Royal Bank of Scotland. He played for Newington and Watsonian 'A' XVs., and was a good all-round athlete. Enlisting in the R.H. in 1914, he was later given a commission in the 14th R.S., rose to be Lt. and A/Capt., and came through some severe fighting around Loos. Applying for a transfer to the R.F.C., he got his pilot's certificate in the record time of seven weeks. Returning to France in Sept. 1916, he proved himself a most intrepid airman, but his career was unhappily cut short by an attack of pleurisy, traceable to previous gas poisoning. He made a gallant struggle for life, but finally died in Craigleith Hospital, May 14, 1917.