John Grant Watt MM & Bar

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John Grant Watt MM & Bar
Personal Information
Date of Birth c1893
Place of Birth Leith, Scotland
Death 13 Jan 1981
Place of Death Jarrick Hospital, Scotland
Age at Enlistment 21 years, 1 month
Description 5'6¾" (1.77m) tall ; 130lbs
58.967 kg
; fresh complexion ; blue eyes ; brown hair
Occupation Labourer
Religion Presbyterian
Address Gosnells, Western Australia
Next of Kin Mother , Mrs Julia Nichol Watt
Military Information
Reg Number 1783
Date of Enlistment 18 Jan 1915
Rank Sergeant
Unit/Formation 12th Battalion, 4th Reinforcement
Date of Embarkation 19 Apr 1915 ‒ ?? May 1915
Ship Embarked On HMAT A8 Argyllshire
Date of Return 4 Jun 1919 ‒ 16 Jul 1919
Ship Returned On SS Bremen
Fate WIA 23 Jul 1918 Chuignes
Returned to Australia
Monument Gosnells Road Board Honour Roll
Gosnells Primary School Honour Roll
Gosnells Ward Honour Roll
Medals Military Medal
1914-15 Star
British War Medal
Victory Medal

Pre War

Migrated to Australia on the SS Belgic, leaving Liverpool, and arriving in Fremantle on 11 Jun 1912. He was accompanied by his mother Julia 35, brothers Peter 12, and James 10, and sister Isabella 7.

War Service

On entering camp John was allocated to the No 5 Depot Company, and was allocated to the 4th reinforcement draft for the 12th Battalion Travelling with them to Egypt, and on to Gallipoli where on 26 May 1915 he was taken on strength by the 12th Battalion. On 17 Aug 1915 he reported ill suffering with a hernia and was seen by the 2nd Field Ambulance who then passed him to the 1st Australian Casualty Clearing Station who then evacuated him to Mudros. he was evacuated from Mudros on HS Georgian to be admitted to the Valletta Military Hospital, Malta on 27 Aug 1915, and then again from Malta aboard HS Regina D'Italia on 26 Sep 1915 to England where he was admitted to the 3rd Western General Hospital in Cardiff on 4 Oct 1915. On 7 Oct his hernia was operated on. He was discharged on 25 Oct 1915 to furlough.

On 15 Nov 1915 he was charged in London with insubordination and given 4 days detention and subsequent loss of pay. From 2 - 9 Dec 1915 he was a patient in the Convalescent Hospital at Woodcote Park in Epsom where he was assessed as fit for overseas duty. Sent to Weymouth, he was absent from Tattoo on 9 Jan 1916 until noon on 10 Jan 1916, forfeiting 2 days pay and having to undertake 3 days confined to barracks. At some point here he was hospitalised with meningitis (Discharge medical report is on his file). In May he appears to have tried to 'escape' to France as he was charged at AIF Headquarters with (1) being absent without leave from 2:00am on 28 May 1916 until 3:30pm on 29 May 1916;and (2) Incurring a return rail fare to Folkestone 16/6 ($3.30). Admonished, he was required to forfeit 2 days pay and to pay for the fare. However, it may have had the desired result as on 7 Jun 1916 he embarked for France to rejoin his unit which he did on 4 Aug 1916.

Ill, on 7 Jan 1917 John was seen by the 5th Field Ambulance before being sent to the 5th General Hospital in Rouen where he was admitted on 10 Jan 1917. On 21 Jan 1917 he was transferred to the No. 3 Convalescent Depot, and two days later he was with the 1st Division's Base Depot in Étaples where he was taken on strength. On 9 Feb 1917 he was admitted to the 26th General Hospital with laryngitis, before being released to the No. 6 Convalescent Depot on 27 Feb 1917. Discharged to Base Details he was finally able to rejoin the 12th Battalion on 18 Mar 1917.

Appointed Lance Corporal on 10 May 1917, he was on 16 Jul 1917 severely reprimanded by the Commanding Officer for being AWOL from the 8:00am Parade on 14 Jul 1917 until Noon the same day. Forgiven, on 11 Aug 1917 he was promoted Corporal and sent to the 3rd Brigade's NCO School, rejoining the battalion on 10 Sep 1917. Ten days later he was granted leave to the UK, where on 29 Sep 1917 he reported to an Edinburgh hospital with Malaria. Following treatment he was transferred to the 1st Australian Auxiliary Hospital in Harefield on 13 Oct 1917. On 16 Oct 1917 he was granted the balance of his leave and told to report to Weymouth. Late reaching Weymouth he was charged with being AWOL from 6:00pm on 21 Oct 1917 until 9:00am on 23 Oct 1917. Reprimanded, he forfeited 3 days pay.

John spent November and December 1917 in Weymouth before reporting to the Overseas Training Brigade at Longbridge Deverill on 8 Jan 1918 where he was attached as a member of its 'B Company' cadre. John attended the 43rd Army Physical & Bayonet Training Course from 25 Feb - 22 Mar 1918, qualifying as 'good'. On 30 Jun 1918 he proceeded overseas to France via Folkestone, and on 9 Jul 1918 he rejoined his battalion. On 11 and 12 Aug 1918 he and his battalion were involved in a fight near Lihons, having been used mainly in reserve during the fighting on the 8th and 9th in what became known as 'Germany's Black Day' John's efforts on 11th Aug 1918 earned him the Military Medal. On 17 Aug 1918 John was promoted Sergeant.

On 23 Aug 1918 he was wounded in action with a gun shot wound to his left leg in the battle for Chuignes. Treated by the 3rd Field Ambulance, he was passed the next day to the 53rd Casualty Clearing Station, and then by Ambulance Train to the 6th General Hospital in Rouen. On 28 Aug 1918 he embarked on HMHS St Patrick for England where he was admitted to the Graylingwell Military Hospital in Chichester for treatment to a (slight) gun shot wound to his left thigh. On 15 Nov 1918 he was transferred to the 3rd Australian Auxiliary Hospital at Dartford, and on 20 Nov 1918 to the No. 2 Convalescent Depot in Weymouth. Here he was charged with being AWOL from 1 - 10 Apr 1919, but the charge was dismissed - no explanation given. On 9 May 1919 he marched out to Tidworth. Returned to Australia, he was discharged by the 5th Military District on 23 Sep 1919 as medically unfit for further service.

On 24 Dec 1918 John had married Jessie Cruickshank, a 21 year old from Cairnies, Methven, Scotland. Jessie died in Edinburgh in Sep 1998 aged 100.

Award Comment

Military Medal

'For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty at LIHONS on 11th August. Corporal Watt took a fighting patrol across the rear of the enemy in Auger Wood and recaptured 4 prisoners of the 10th Battalion, A.I.F. and killed their escort.'[1]

Bar to Military Medal

'For gallantry skill and initiative in leading a counter-attack patrol against an enemy raid, on the night 24/25th July 1918 south of Meteree, the enemy raided the right post of the Division on our left. Immediately the bombardment lifted Corporal Watt left his post to reconnoiter and if possible lend assistance. On approaching the post he observed an enemy machine gun and crew quite near it. he appreciated the situation at once and led his patrol and rushed them. They resisted and a fight ensued in which the whole of the gun crew were killed and the machine was captured.' [2][3]

Post War

In Sep 1919 John was living in Gosnells, Western Australia. On 29 May 1921 John was living in Langdyke, Kennoway, Fife, Scotland.


  1. Commonwealth Gazette No 61, published 23 May 1919.
  2. London Gazette,. Second Supplement No 31338 dated 14 May 1919
  3. Commonwealth f Australia Gazette, No 109 dated 15th September, 1919

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