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, another was killed during World War II and a pupil died in the Korean War. This Roll of Honour provides some of the facts and the faces behind the stark statistics. It also includes the six members of staff who died in World War I and another, who had taught at George Watson's Ladies' College, who died in World War II.
These biographies are not complete and there are also a number of photographs missing, together with a few records that have not yet been traced. If you have any further information we would welcome it, please contact us.
Most of the information you will find here has been taken from A Memorial Record of Watsonians who served in the Great War (1920) and The Watsonian War Record 1939-1945 (1951). These two volumes were published to record and honour Watsonians who had served and who had died.
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 eldest son of Mr. R. Anderson, Seafield, was born in 1889, and was educated at Pumpherston Public School and G.W.C. Entering the Civil Service (Second Division), he served in Dublin and Edinburgh, and had attained an important position in the National Health Insurance Commission. As a Pte. in the 9th R.S., he was mobilised in August 1914, and accompanied his unit to France. Graduating at St. Omer Cadet School, he was gazetted to the H.L.I., and fell in action on Aug. 17, 1916.
A son of the late Bailie Kinloch Anderson, Edin., was born in 1880, and attended G.W.C. 1886-96. He was engaged in the engineer's department of the N.B. Railway when war broke out. Enlisting in the 9th R.S., he received a commission in the 4th R.H. 1915, and fell in Flanders in Sept. of the same year.
The son of Mr. W. M. Anderson, Edin., was born in 1887. He entered G.W.C. in 1896 and left to train as a civil engineer. He had attained considerable eminence in his profession, when, on the outbreak of war, he volunteered for service. In June 1915 he was commissioned 2/Lt. R.E., being gazetted to the C. of E. Field Coy. He went to France in July 1916, and in Dec. 1917 was mentioned in Despatches and promoted Capt. He fell at Arras on Mar. 29, 1918.
Born in 1893, was the son of Mr. R. Anderson, Edin. He attended G.W.C. 1900-8, and distinguished himself then and after as an athlete and golfer. He held the rank of L/Cpl. in the 5th R.S., and took part with his Bn. in the Gallipoli Campaign. Wounded on Apr. 25, 1915, he succumbed to further wounds three days later, and was buried on the Peninsula.
The youngest son of the late W. J. Mnloch Anderson of Messrs. W. Anderson and Sons, Edin., was born in 1885, and attended G.W.C. 1891-1902. He attended Edin. Univ. and qualified as a C.A. He was a golfer of note, and was, previous to the war, Joint Secy. of the Edinburgh Watsonian Club. Enlisting in 1915, he was commissioned to the 5th R.H. Mar. 1915. He was Bombing Officer for his Brigade, 1916-18, and rose to be Capt. Crossing to France in Apr. 1918, he was attached to the 6th R.H., then a unit in the famous 51st Div. In the desperate fighting in the Bois de Courtrai he was killed, July 22, 1918.
The third son of the late A. H. Anderson of Messrs. W. Anderson and Sons, Edin., was born in 1888, and attended G.W.C. 1894-1904. He was employed in his father's business on the outbreak of war. Enlisting in the 15th R.S., he was promoted L/Cpl. and was wounded in France, Apr. 1, 1916. He died two days later in No. 8 Casualty Clearing Station, and was buried at Balleul.
Born in 1880, was a pupil at G.W.C. which he entered in 1889. Thereafter he studied law at Edin. Univ., and later practised as an advocate. He originally joined 16th R.S. as a Pte. in Dec. 1914, but his ability soon brought merited promotion, and he attained the rank of Capt. In July 1916 he was awarded the M.C. for gallantry in the field. A month later he fell in action at Bazentin-le-petit (Aug. 4, 1916).
The elder son of Mr. J. H. Armstrong, Hawick, was born in 1892 and attended G.W.C. 1905-11. He was Lizars prizeman in 1911, and a forward in the School XVs. of 1909-10-11. He graduated M.A. at Edin. Univ. in 1914, and LL.B. the following year. He played in the forward line of the Watsonian XV. Commissioned to the 4th K.O.S.B. in 1915, he saw service in Gallipoli and Egypt. Invalided home, he was attached on recovery to the 6th K.O.S.B. in France, and was killed on Apr. 25, 1918, at Kemmel.
Attended G.W.C. 1909-14. During his School career he was prominently associated with the Scout movement. He left to take up banking. Gaining a commission in the 4th Cameronians (Scottish Rifles), he saw service in France, was wounded, and gained the M.C. Oct. 1917. He rose to the rank of Lt. and was A/Capt., attd. 9th S.R., when he fell in action, Apr. 4, 1918.
The youngest son of Mr. W. C. Bailey, Edin., was born in 1885, and attended G.W.C. 1890-1900. He was the first winner of the School diving trophy. On leaving he went to Ceylon as a tea planter, and then moved to Singapore, where he held an important post under the Straits Trading Coy. He came home to join up, and was gazetted early in 1915 to the 1/8th R.S. He crossed to France soon after and came through much hard fighting, falling in action on May 23, 1917.