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.
Andrew Burnie, Pilot Officer, Royal Air Force, was the son of Mr. and Mrs. George Burnie, 51 Thirlestane Road, Edinburgh. Born on 29th August 1913 he entered Watson's from James Gillespie's School in 1927. On leaving school in 1930 he joined the staff of the National Bank of Scotland, and in 1935 received an appointment with the Bank of London and South America in Asuncion, Paraguay. He returned to this country to join the R.A.F., and was commissioned Pilot Officer in November 1941. On 31st March 1942 his 'plane, a Blenheim bomber, failed to return from an exercise over the North Sea.
David F. Caird, Officer Cadet, Royal Air Force, eldest son of Dr. Andrew J. Caird, Mulcaster House, Stanwix, Carlisle, was born on 23rd June 1919, and after an early education at Lime House School, Wetheral, Carlisle, entered the Third Form at Watson's in May 1933. During his four years at school he proved a good all-rounder, gaining a bursary in 1935, and playing in the Cockburn House XV and the School 3rd XI. On leaving in 1937 he entered Edinburgh University, and had completed two years' study for the B.Sc. degree in Agriculture when he joined the R.A.F. He had almost finished his training for a commission when he met his death in February 1941.
David J. Calder, Pilot Officer, Royal Air Force, was the only son of the Rev. and Mrs. J. M. Calder, 33 Lockharton Avenue, Edinburgh. He joined the R.A.F. on leaving school in 1941, and met his death in a flying accident when training in Alabama, U.S.A., on 6th October 1942.
David L. S. Cameron, Flying Officer, Royal Air Force, only son of the Rev. Allan Cameron, Ex-Principal of the Scottish Church College, Calcutta, and Mrs. Cameron, Forgandenny, Perthshire, was born on 20th January 1921 and attended Watson's from 1929 to 1939, when he entered the Edinburgh College of Art School of Architecture. Joining the R.A.F. in 1941, he trained in Alberta and Ontario before returning to Britain as a Flight Sergeant in April 1943. Promoted to the rank of Pilot Officer and subsequently Flying Officer, he was attached to Coastal Command Beaufighters. He was killed in action on 25th September 1944 during an attack on enemy shipping off the coast of Holland.
A. Colin Campbell,. Leading Aircraftman, Royal Air Force, was the son of Mr. and Mrs. John Campbell, Rowanbank, Newhaven Road, Leith. Born in 1920, he attended Watson's from 1933 to 1937, when he entered the Head Office of the Associated Lothian Coal Owners, Ltd. He was serving in the wireless section of the R.A.F, when he met his death in an enemy air-raid on Malta on 24th March 1942.
Cameron D. Carnegie, Chaplain to the Forces, son of the late Mr. John C. Carnegie and Mrs. Carnegie, 135 Mayfield Road, Edinburgh, attended Watson's from 1927 to 1934. After graduating M.A. at Edinburgh University in 1939, he studied at New College, and acted as student-assistant in St. George's Parish Church, where he later became Assistant. On the outbreak of war he was eager to enlist as a combatant, but was persuaded to finish his Divinity course with a view to a Chaplaincy. He was accidentally killed on active service in Normandy in July 1944.
D. Stuart Carnegie, Pilot Officer, Royal Air Force, son of Mr. William Carnegie, Auctioneer, Haddington, was born on 14th June 1907. Leaving school in 1924, he entered the service of The National Bank of Scotland, Ltd., and in 1929 joined the Anglo-South American Bank in Coquimbo, Chile. Entering the R.A.F. in 1940, he received his commission and was posted to the 61st Squadron. He was killed at Wilhelmshaven, Germany, soon after, on l0th July 1940.
Peter J. Cheyne, Private, The Royal Scots, was the son of Mr. and Mrs. A. D. Cheyne, 31 Midmar Gardens, Edinburgh. He attended Watson's from 1927 to 1937, and had commenced his study of Law at Edinburgh University when he joined The Royal Scots in 1939. After three months' service he was drafted to Hong-Kong, where on Christmas Day 1941 he was taken prisoner by the Japanese. He fell a victim to diphtheria after eighteen months in a Prisoner of War camp in Hong-Kong.
William B. Christie, Pilot Officer, Royal Air Force, eldest son of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Christie, Dalblair, Kirkcaldy, was born on 7th August 1914. He received his early education at Kirkcaldy High School and entered Watson's in 1929. Leaving in 1932, he proceeded to Edinburgh University, where he graduated M.A. with Honours in History. Later he took the degree of Bachelor of Education at Glasgow University. Joining the R.A.F., he was granted his commission the day before his death on 30th July 1941.
William C. G. Cogman, Flight Lieutenant, Royal Air Force, son of Mr. G. C. Cogman, 22 Barnton Gardens, Edinburgh, left Watson's in 1931 to study at Bennet College , Sheffield, for a Civil Service examination. At school he had gained his 1st XV Colour-and subsequently played regularly for the Watsonian XV. Joining the R.A.F. prior to the war, he was soon commissioned, and his squadron was the first to operate in the leaflet-dropping raids over Germany. Running short of petrol during a storm, he was forced to land in Belgium, where he was interned. Making his escape, he reached London in December 1939 and rejoined his old squadron. After several trips over Norway, he was shot down over Germany but baled out and walked into Holland, where he was taken prisoner. Again effecting his escape, he reached Ostend, but the vessel in which he was crossing the North Sea was torpedoed by a U-boat and he was reported killed in action at the age of twenty-seven.