An Old Coathamian – Not Forgotten

John Peirson WATSON

Second Lieutenant, 3rd (Reserve) Battalion, attached
7th (Service) Battalion, Duke of York’s Own
(East Yorkshire Regiment).

Born 14 November 1878,
Died 29 July 1917, aged 38 years.

Commemorated on the Arras Memorial, Arras,
Pas de Calais, France, Bay 4 and 5.

The 3rd Battalion of the East Yorkshire Regiment was a training battalion based at home, whilst the 7th Battalion was one of several battalions of the regiment serving at the Front in France. Second Lieutenant Watson must have gone out to France on attachment to the 7th Battalion. He is one of almost 35,000 servicemen from the United Kingdom, South Africa and New Zealand who lost their lives in the Arras sector of the Front between the spring of 1916 and 7 August 1918 and who have no known grave.

John Peirson Watson was the son of Henry and Mary Watson and lived all his life at 3, Coatham Villas. His prosperous father was a solicitor and local magistrate and between 1866 and 1885 Henry and Mary had five daughters and four sons. John Peirson was the third son, Peirson being his mother’s maiden name. The family home in 1881 also had a governess, a groom, a cook and four house servants. One older brother, Harold, was already at Coatham Grammar School when John joined in April 1887, no doubt in the preparatory class as he was only eight years old. He stayed until December 1892, when he was then 14. John and Harold both became solicitors, like their father, possibly entering his firm in Middlesbrough, although he died in 1897. In 1911 both sons were still living at home, unmarried, with their widowed mother and three unmarried sisters.