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 only son of Mr. T. Beattie, sculptor, Edin., was born at Hawick in 1886, and entered G.W.C. in 1902. He developed a taste for art, and, as a student at the Art College, gave high promise of future distinction by his equestrian statue in bronze -the Hawick 1514 Memorial. He played in the Lismore and Brunstane XVs. Enlisting in the L. and B. H., he was gazetted to the R.H.A. in Apr. 1915. Gaining his lieutenancy in the R.F.A. in July 1917, he became A/Capt. Oct. 1917 and A/Major Apr. 1918. He had meantime gone through some of the stiffest fighting in France, had been at Ypres, Loos, and the Somme, been gassed, and had won the M.C. Nov. 1917. He died of wounds at Joncourt, north of Peronne, Oct. 3, 1918.
Born at Stornoway in 1898, was the son of Lt. F. S. Beedle, R.N. Educated at G.W.C. 1908-13, he obtained an appointment in H.M. Civil Service. After serving as a Pte. in 9th R.S. from Mar. to Sept. 1916, he was gazetted 2/Lt. in the Gordon Hrs. on 1st Mar. 1917. Proceeding to France in Apr. 1917, he took part in the fighting at Cambrai (Nov. 1917), and at Arras (Mar. 1918). He was reported severely wounded and missing near Bethune on 11th Apr. 1918. For gallantry at Cambrai 1917 he was awarded the M.C.
The youngest son of Mr. L. R. Bell, Leith, was born in Edin. 1880. He attended G.W.C. 1888-98, winning the Cowieson and Clapperton Prizes. On leaving, he studied accountancy and became a C.A. in 1904. Joining the College Coy. of the R.S. in 1898, he rose to the rank of Sgt. In 1906 he obtained a commission in the Dalkeith Coy. and was promoted Capt. in 1911. He was for some years Bde. Signalling Offr. In Nov. 1914, he was gazetted to the 11th R.S., and crossed to France in May 1915. He was wounded in July, but returned in time to take part in the Sept. attack on Loos, in which he fell at the head of his company.
A son of Mr. R. Bell, Advocate and Sheriff-Substitute of Stirling, Clackmannan, and Dumbarton, was born at Falkirk in 1879. He attended G.W.C. 1888-96, and played for the 1st XV. in his last session at School. Having emigrated to S. Africa in 1897, he served in Natal Mounted Police prior to and during the S. African War, towards the end of which he was transferred to Locksley's Scouts. At the outbreak of the late war, he was Superintendent of Native Labour on the S. African Rlys. Granted a commission as Lt. in the S.A. Engineering Corps, he served throughout the campaign in German S.W. Africa, and on its termination enlisted as a Pte. in the S.A. Scottish. Promoted 2/Lt. a few days later, he was sent to Egypt and took part in the campaign against the Senussi. His regiment was ordered to France in Apr. 1916, and on July 20 he fell at Delville Wood during the battle of the Somme.
The second son of Dr. J. W. Bell, Edin., was born in 1884, and attended G.W.C. 1891-1902. He became a well-known figure in Watsonian athletic circles as a member of the Watsonian XV. He was on the staff of the Clydesdale Bank, and in 1913 went to Vancouver to enter the service of the Canadian Bank of Commerce. Enlisting in the Can. Seaforth Hrs., he crossed to France with the 1st Can. Contingent. In Aug. 1915, he won his commission on the field, and in July 1916, the M.C. for conspicuous gallantry. Promoted Capt., he had the immediate prospect of a Staff appointment when he was killed in action.
The eldest son of Mr. R. Bell, Newcastleton, was born in 1887, and attended G.W.C. 1905-7. In his last session he was a member of the O.T.C. After assisting for a time in his father's drapery business in Newcastle-on-Tyne, he emigrated to Canada in 1910, and was employed in Winnipeg. Later he was attached to the Hydrographic Survey Party, Hudson Bay, and was stationed at York Factory, 1912-13. After a spell of farming in Saskatchewan, he joined the 96th Can. Hrs. in June 1916, and crossing to France was wounded at Hill 70 on Sept. 23, 1917. After a period of convalescence in England he returned to France in April 1918, was mortally wounded near Amiens Aug. 17, 1918
The only son of Mr. J. Bell, late of Edinburgh Hydropathic, was born in 1882 and attended G.W.C. 1891-96, passing thence to Glenalmond. He passed his C.A. examinations in 1905, and became a partner in the firm Messrs. Walker and White, C.A., Edin., 1912. A keen sportsman and Volunteer, he was prominently associated with the E.U.O.T.C., being Capt. of the Infantry Section in 1913. Gazetted Capt. to the 9th R.H. in 1914, he saw service in France and fell at Loos, Sept. 25, 1915.
Born in 1889, attended G.W.C. 1905-6. He enlisted as a Pte. in the 14th A. and S. H., and was commissioned to the R.S. in 1916. He fell in action on Aug. 16, 1918.
BRANDHOEK NEW MILITARY CEMETERY No.3
The son of Mr. J. Black, Edin., was born in Dublin in 1893, and attended G.W.C. 1906-9. After leaving School, he entered the Royal Insurance Coy., and was on the Inspectors' Staff. He was in the L. and B. H. before the war, and was mobilised in Aug. 1914. In Jan. 1917 he received a commission in the K.O.S.B., went to France in Apr., and died from wounds received on Aug. 19, 1917.