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.
C. Ripley Bogle, A.F.C., Squadron Leader, Royal Air Force, was the youngest son of the Very Rev. A. N. Bogle, D.D., and Mrs. Bogle, 4 Cluny Avenue, Edinburgh. Born on 18th May 1912 he spent practically all his school days at Watson's, entering in 19 18 and leaving in 1931. During these thirteen years he proved himself an excellent all-rounder, being a grand rugby player, athlete, scholar and musician. After graduating at Edinburgh University, he entered Balliol College, Oxford, where he had an equally distinguished record. Taking up teaching as a career he was appointed senior classical master at King's School, Macclesfield. In 1941 he volunteered for the R.A.F. and in June 1942 saw active service in Madagascar. Later he went to East Africa, where he was in charge of the meteorological department of the Command, and was awarded the A.F. C. for his work there. He returned home at the end of 1945 to be demobilised, and lost his life as the result of a skating accident at Portmore Loch, near Eddleston, Peebles-shire, on 1st March 1946.
James Borland, D.F.C., Pilot Officer, Royal Air Force, elder son of Mr. T. W. Borland, J.P. and Mrs. Borland, Irvine, Ayrshire, was born on 14th March 1923. Coming to Watson's from Irvine Royal Academy in 1937, he left in 1941 to enter the first University Training Course for Air Pilots, and after further training in England and the United States was commissioned Pilot Officer in 1943. In November 1943 he gained the D.F.C. " in recognition of gallantry and devotion to duty in the execution of many operations over the Reich." As a Pathfinder Pilot he was killed in action in a raid over Berlin in January 1944.
Frank Brotchie, Squadron Leader, Royal Air Force, and only son of Mr. and Mrs. G. M. Brotchie, formerly of Calcutta, was born on 2nd July 1916, and was a pupil at Watson's from 1922 to 1926, when he proceeded to Dundee High School. His Studies were continued with distinction at Dundee Technical College. Joining the R.A.F. in 1937, he quickly won promotion and became an ace fighter-pilot, serving with the Advanced Air Striking Force in France, where he was wounded. After convalescence he resumed flying as an instructor. He was later posted to a fighter squadron and was promoted to the rank of Squadron Leader in September 1941. He met his death in England in March 1942 at the age of twenty-five.
James W. Brotherston, Ordinary Seaman, Royal Navy, was the elder son of Mr. and Mrs. J. B. Brotherston, 19 Plewlands Avenue, Edinburgh. Leaving school in 1939 he became apprenticed to Messrs. Walker & Henderson, Chartered Accountants, Edinburgh, and enlisted in the Royal Navy in 1941. He died at sea in September 1942 at the age of twenty.
Alexander McA. Slater Brown, Captain, The Royal Scots, youngest son of the late Mr. W. Slater Brown and Mrs. Slater Brown, 71 Comiston Drive, Edinburgh, was born on 22nd July 1921, and attended Watson's from 1927 to 1939. On leaving school, where he was a keen cadet and leading drummer in the J.T.C. band, Sandy enlisted in the Territorials. He received his commission in The Royal Scots at the end of 1940, and was drafted to the Far East. In December 1941, at the age of twenty, he was killed in action while leading his men in the defence of Hong-Kong.
Stewart Brown, Lieutenant-Colonel, Royal Army Medical Corps, only child of Mr. and Mrs. R. Stewart Brown, 11a Thirlestane Road, Edinburgh, attended Watson's from 1916 to 1928. He graduated M.B., Ch.B. at Edinburgh University in 1935, and after a tour abroad joined the R.A.M.C. He was sent to India and saw service on the N.W. Frontier, where he was raised to the rank of Captain. After a period in Palestine and Egypt, he was sent home to train units in field work. He was promoted Major and went overseas again with the 51st (Highland) Division, with which he served all through the campaign in N. Africa to Tunis. He was then made Lieutenant- Colonel and given command of the City of London Unit in the Middle East. He was killed in action in September 1943 at Salerno, Italy, and was mentioned in despatches.
Thomas D. Brown, Flying Officer, Royal Air Force, son of Mr. and Mrs. J. Allan Brown. 10 Hermitage Gardens, Edinburgh, attended Watson's from 1926 to 1938, and during his last session was awarded his 1st XV Colours. On leaving school he became indentured as an apprentice Chartered Accountant. Joining the R.A.F. in 1941, he trained in South Africa, and took first place in his course as navigator. Posted to Bomber Command he did not return from a raid on Essen on 28th May 1943, his twenty-second operational flight, and is buried at Hengelo, Holland. Flying Officer Brown was a King's Scout, and was for a time Scoutmaster of the combined 4th and 72nd Troops.
Robert A. Budgett, Flight Sergeant, Royal Air Force, second son of Mr. and Mrs. W. H. Budgett, 63 Pentland Terrace, Edinburgh, was born on 3oth January 1922 and entered Watson's from Leeds Grammar School in 19 31. Leaving in 19 3 9, he became apprenticed to the firm of Messrs. Graham, Smart & Annan, Chartered Accountants, Edinburgh. He joined the R.A.F. and was captain of a Wellington Bomber on his twenty-fourth operational flight from his base in Italy, when he was killed in action.
Reginald G. Burge, Lieutenant, Royal Engineers, son of Mr. and Mrs. W. H. Burge, 13 Findhorn Place, Edinburgh, was born on 10th November 1919, and attended Watson's from 1925 to 1936. He took part in many activities at school and was a fine swimmer and scout. On leaving school he became apprenticed to the firm of Messrs. J. R. Mackay, Architects, Manor Place, Edinburgh, and studied at the Edinburgh College of Art. He was killed in action in the Middle East in May 1943 at the age of twenty-three.
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.