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.
John C. Robertson, Sergeant Pilot, Rhodesian Air Force, son of the late Mr. James Robertson, C.M.G., and Mrs. Robertson, 2 Ashley Court, Salisbury, S. Rhodesia, was born on 10th July 1912. Coming to Watson's in 1923, he left in 1929 to enter Edinburgh University, where he graduated B.Sc. in Forestry in 1932. Returning to Rhodesia in 1934, he joined the Imperial Tobacco Company. In 1935 he won the Salisbury Golf Championship. Joining the R.A.F. in August 1941, he had just qualified for his wings when he was killed in an air accident near Salisbury on 4th April 1942.
Thomas D. Robertson, Flying Officer, Royal Air Force, was the eldest son of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Robertson, Struan, 76 Belgrave Road, Corstorphine, Edinburgh. Born on 28th January 1916, he attended Watson's from 1923 to 1931, when he entered the service of the Bank of Scotland, latterly at the Head Office, Edinburgh. He was an enthusiastic Rugby player in the school teams and Corstorphine Rugby Club. Joining the volunteer reserve of the R.A.F. before the war, he was mobilised in 1939, and was in one of the first thousand aircraft to drop bombs over Germany. He was killed on active service in January 1943.
Patrick H. D. Ronaldson, Lieutenant, Royal Artillery, was the son of the late Mr. Peter Ronaldson, C.A., F.F.A., and Mrs. Ronaldson, Corstorphine, Edinburgh. Born on 8th March 1912, he entered Watson's in 1917 and left in 1929 to study at the Edinburgh College of Art, where he had a brilliant record, graduating A.M.T.P.I. and A.R.I.B.A. In June 1936 he was awarded an Andrew Grant Travelling Scholarship. After training at an O.C.T.U. at Ilkley in 1940, he received his commission, went to India and from there to Malaya. Wounded and taken prisoner at Singapore, he contracted diphtheria and dysentery and died at Taiwan on 9th January 1943.
Alexander T. Ross, Second Lieutenant, Highland Light Infantry, was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Alexander Ross, 10 Braid Avenue, Edinburgh. Born on 31st March 1915, he came to Watson's from Viewpark School in 1921 and left in 1931 to enter the firm of Messrs. MacVitties Guest & Co. Ltd., Edinburgh, of which his father is a Director and of which he himself became a Director in 1941. Joining the K.O.S.B. in 1940, he was subsequently gazetted Second Lieutenant in the H.L.I. He lost his life in an accident at Maryhill Barracks, Glasgow, on 27th July 1942.
Allan H. Ross, Flight Sergeant, Royal Air Force, was the son of Mr. and Mrs. H. J. G. Ross, 52 Elliot Road, Edinburgh. Born on l0th October 1921, he received his early education at Rothesay Academy. After attendance at Watson's from 1933 to 1937, he left to take up an appointment in Edinburgh with the British Linen Bank. Volunteering for service in the R.A.F. in July 1941, he received his training in Britain and Canada, and became a Bomb-aimer with Bomber Command in March 1943. He was killed in action over Germany on 31st March 1944 and is buried with the other members of the crew, including John Batten Smith at Bad Tolz near Munich.
Michael G. C. Scanlon, Sergeant Air-gunner, Royal Air Force, was the only child of Mr. and Mrs. Michael A. Scanlon, 14 Crarae Avenue, Ravelston Dykes, Edinburgh. Born on 26th July 1920, he attended Watson's from 1933 to 1938, when he left to join the staff of the Bank of Scotland. Volunteering for service with the R.A.F., he was killed on active service in April 1942 after many operational flights over Germany and occupied territory.
Leonard G. Scott, Coder, Royal Navy, son of Mr. James Scott, and the late Mrs. Scott, 6o Murrayfield Avenue, Edinburgh, was born on 3rd March 1920. Coming to Watson's in 1928, he left in 1937 to enter the Leith Walk, Edinburgh, Branch of the National Bank of Scotland Ltd., and later served at the Slateford Branch. Joining the Royal Navy early in 1940, he trained at Skegness camp and was posted to H.M.S. Bluebell, a corvette employed on escorting convoys in the Atlantic, Mediterranean, and Northern waters. On 17th February 1945 the Bluebell was sunk by enemy action with almost all hands in Russian waters.
Robert F. Scott, Lance-Sergeant, Royal Artillery, was the only son of Mr. and Mrs. R. F. Scott, 39 Lauderdale Street, Edinburgh. Born on 17th July 1910, he attended Watson's from 1915 to 1927, when he became indentured as an apprentice in the firm of Messrs. Barstow & Millar, Chartered Accountants, Edinburgh. He was admitted to membership of the Society of Accountants in Edinburgh in 1933, and until the outbreak of war was on the accounting staff of Messrs. Alex. Cowan & Co . Ltd., Penicuik. He was killed in action in the Middle East on Christmas Day 1941, when serving with a heavy anti-aircraft battery.
William H. Scurr, Lieutenant, The Gurkha Rifles, was the elder son of Mr. and Mrs. W. H. Scurr, 342 Morningside Road, Edinburgh. Born on l0th February 1924, he attended Watson's from 1934 to 1939. Volunteering for army service, he was commissioned in the Indian Army and posted to the Gurkha Rifles. He was killed in action on 28th April 1945.
J. James M. Shaw, M.C., Croix de Guerre with Star, Colonel, Royal Army Medical Corps, son of the late Mr. and Mrs. J. Shaw, Leith, was born at Port Glasgow in 1885, and attended Watson's from 1894 to 1902. Entering Edinburgh University, he graduated M.A. in 1906, M.B. in 1909, M.D. in 1913 and F.R.C.S. Edinburgh. During the first world war he served in France as a Major in the R.A.M.C., was awarded the M.C. and the Croix de Guerre with Star, and was twice mentioned in dispatches. In his subsequent career he became one of Edinburgh's leading surgeons and a foremost pioneer in plastic surgery, besides devoting much attention to the use of radium and X-ray Therapy in the treatment of malignant disease. On both of these subjects he made many contributions to medical literature. On the outbreak of the second world war he was appointed Consultant Surgeon to the British Army in the Field, and in the early summer of 1940 went overseas as Consulting Surgeon to the Forces in the Middle East. He died in Egypt in September 1940 of an acute attack of dysentery.