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 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.
The only son of Mr. T. Alexander, Edin., was born in 1899 and attended G.W.C. 1905-16. He studied medicine at Edin. Univ. for one session, joining the O.T.C. there in April 1917. Gazetted 2/Lt. in the R.A.F., he was sent to France in July 1918, and fell in action at the beginning of the Flanders Offensive, Aug. 17, 1918.
The youngest son of Mr. J. Allan, Edin., was born in 1898 and attended G.W.C. 1910-16. He was a Cadet in the O.T.C., and his skill as a left-handed bowler won him a place in the 1916 XI. He left to study medicine, and passed his first professional examination while at the same time undergoing training in the E.U.O.T.C. (Arty.). He was commissioned in Oct. 1917, and joined the 106th Bde., R.F.A., in France. Wounded in Sept. 1918, he pluckily stuck to his post when his battery was short of officers. Finally, near Valenciennes, he was wounded in the head, Nov. 4, 1918, and after a plucky fight for life, died in Boulogne, Dec. 8, 1918,
Born in 1890, the son of Councillor J. Allan, attended G.W.C. 1897-1909. He played for the 1st XV. He joined 4th R.S. in 1911, and in 1913 was promoted Lt. He held 'A' certificate for promotion to Capt., and for a time was Signalling Officer to the Bn. He was reported 'missing' at Gallipoli after the battle of Saghir Dire on June 28, 1915, and was presumed killed in action. In civil life he was engaged in his father's business as a boot manufacturer.
The only son of Mr. A. Allan, Edin., was born in 1891, and attended G.W.C. 1901-7. A lad of powerful physique, he was twice runner-up in the Games
Championship (1906-7), and was a prominent three-quarter in the XV. 1906-7.
Joining the staff of the North British and Mercantile Insurance Coy., he attained considerable
eminence as a golfer, while for two years in succession he held the premier
award for swimming at the Warrender Baths. Joining the Inns of Court
O.T.C. in 1914, he was gazetted to the R.S., and fell in June 1917.
A pupil of G.W.C. 1889-98, completed his school education at Glenalmond in 1901. After a course of study at Glasgow Technical Mining College, he qualified as a mining engineer, and held an appointment in London at the outbreak of war. In the ranks of the R.N.D. he served in Gallipoli, whence he was invalided to Malta. Promoted Ldg. Seaman, he was sent to France in July 1917. He died of wounds near Ypres on Oct. 12, 1917, at the age of twenty-two. He was the fourth son of Mr. J. Allison, Edin.
He came to G.W.C. in 1887 at the age of six. After leaving School in 1897, he studied law at Edin. Univ., and qualified as a solicitor. After a period of service in the 8th R.S., he trained as an Officer Cadet at Gailes. Commissioned in the Royal Scots 1916, he had served in France for only three months when he was killed in action near Ypres on Sept. 20, 1917.
Paymaster Sub-Lieutenant, Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve, son of Mr. and Mrs. W. Allsebrook, Whapple Way, Ditchling, Sussex, left Watson's in 1929 to enter Edinburgh Academy. On the outbreak of war he intended serving with the Royal Air Force, but slight colour-blindness prevented his acceptance for Cranwell. He then joined the R.N.V.R., and was Paymaster Sub-Lieutenant on H.M.S. Barham when she went down on 25th November 1941. He was 22 years of age.
The youngest son of the late J. C. Anderson, Ceylon, was born in 1882, and entered G.W.C. 1893. Proceeding to Edin. Univ., be graduated M.A. and thereafter qualified as a C.A. Entering the service of Messrs. Pearson and Sons, he was sent to Mexico City and became Comptroller of the Mexican Eagle Oil Coy. In 1917 he joined the Household Bde. O.T.C., and was commissioned to the 1st Bn. Grenadier Guards. He fell in action between Cambrai and Maubeuge, Nov. 7, 1918.