Born in 1890, James was the youngest of four children to Arthur and Edith Watson of Wood House, Cottingham. The 1911 Census finds him living with his siblings at 38 Victoria Avenue, Hull and working as a Bank Clerk. War changed all that forever.
James queued in the long uneven lines of 1st September 1914 to join the fledgling new unit- the 10th Battalion East Yorkshire Regiment, ‘The Commercials’, 1st Hull Pals. His first months as a soldier were spent in barracks at Hornsea, Beverley and Ripon but their orders finally came through a few weeks before the Christmas of 1915 and the Pals embarked from Devonport bound for Alexandria, Egypt.
After a few months of searing heat and biting cold as the stark contrast between day and night in the desert took its toll, they left Port Said for Marseilles on 29th February 1916 before taking the train north to the trenches of the Western Front.
James Stanley Watson was killed in action during counter bombardments in the weeklong build up to The Battle of the Somme. He died on 28th June 1916 and is buried at Sucrerie Military Cemetery; he was 26 years old. On June 30th, 10% of the battalion was sent to a position opposite Colincamps while the rest were put to work supplying those that were to go ‘Over The Top’ the following morning. For all the history books tell you that the Generals expected 1st July 1916 to be a stroll to victory, this was done to preserve a core of men around which to build a new battalion in case of heavy casualties…..somebody, somewhere knew what was coming.