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Lieutenant Colonel OLIVER CYRIL SPENCER WATSON

Regiment & Unit/Ship

Middlesex Hussars

Date of Death

Died 28 March 1918

Age 41 years old

Buried or commemorated at

ARRAS MEMORIAL

Bay 1.

France

  • Secondary Unit, Regiment Cdg. 2nd/5th Bn. King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry
  • Country of Service United Kingdom
  • Awards Victoria Cross, Distinguished Service Order, Mentioned in Despatches
  • Additional Info Son of William Spencer Watson, F.R.C.S., and Georgine Mary Jane Mair Watson. Served in the Tirah Campaign with 19th Bn. Yorkshire Regt., also served in China during the Boxer rebellion.
  • Additional Citation note

    An extract from "The London Gazette," dated 18th May, 1918, records the following:- "For most conspicuous bravery, self-sacrificing devotion to duty, and exceptionally gallant leading during a critical period of operations. His command was at a point where continual attacks were made by the enemy in order to pierce the line, and an intricate system of old trenches in front, coupled with the fact that his position was under constant rifle and machine-gun fire, rendered the situation still more dangerous. A counter-attack had been made against the enemy position, which at first achieved its object, but as they were holding out in two improvised strong points, Lt. Col. Watson saw that immediate action was necessary, and he led his remaining small reserve to the attack, organising bombing parties and leading attacks under intense rifle and machine-gun fire. Outnumbered, he finally ordered his men to retire, remaining himself in a communication trench to cover the retirement, though he faced almost certain death by so doing. The assault he led was at a critical moment, and without doubt saved the line. Both in the assault and in covering his men's retirement, he held his life as nothing, and his splendid bravery inspired all troops in the vicinity to rise. to the occasion and save a breach being made in a hardly tried and attenuated line. Lt. Col. Watson was killed while covering the withdrawal."

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Buried or commemorated at