Lieutenant ColonelWATSON, OLIVER CYRIL SPENCER

Died 28/03/1918

Aged 41

Middlesex Hussars

Cdg. 2nd/5th Bn.
King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry

V C, D S O, Mentioned in Despatches

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.

Citation

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."

Commemorated at ARRAS MEMORIAL

Location: Pas de Calais, France
Number of casualties: 34817

Cemetery/memorial reference: Bay 1.

See cemetery plan
Memorial details

CWGC Archives

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This collection of documents was assembled by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and its predecessors as part of the processes involved in the commemoration of individuals. As a result, they contain many corrections and alterations which reflect their use as working documents. For further information concerning the history of the collection, please see our About Our Records page.
Please be advised that some of the documents, especially the burial returns and exhumation reports, may contain information which some people may find distressing. The original archive records and their digital copies remain the property of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, but are available for re-use for private and non-commercial purposes.
DISCLAIMER:
This collection of documents was assembled by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and its predecessors as part of the processes involved in the commemoration of individuals. As a result, they contain many corrections and alterations which reflect their use as working documents. For further information concerning the history of the collection, please see our About Our Records page.
Please be advised that some of the documents, especially the burial returns and exhumation reports, may contain information which some people may find distressing. The original archive records and their digital copies remain the property of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, but are available for re-use for private and non-commercial purposes.