1st/4th Battalion, Gordon Highlanders
Died 7th April 1918. Aged 20
Private C. Watt – Gordon Hrs.
Two local men, both Gordon Highlanders named Charles Watt, fell in the First World War. One was from Aboyne and served in the 4th Gordons (no. 202185); the other had a Banchory connection and also served in the 1st/4th Gordon Highlanders (no. 202335). It is probable that the man on the Kincardine O’Neil memorial is no.202335, because Charles Watt from Aboyne had a brother Alexander who was also a casualty of the war. The brothers are commemorated together on the Aboyne memorial and it would be odd if only one of them made it onto the Kincardine O’Neil memorial.
Assuming this person, therefore, to be Charles Watt no. 202335 of the 1st/4th Gordons, he was a son of John and Jessie Moir or Watt of Birks Lodge, Banchory, who was born at East Mains, Inchmarlo, on 5 March 1898. The local connection, as revealed by the 1891 Census, may be that in that year John and Jessie and three children were living at Waulkmill in Kincardine O’Neil parish, and there was a Lumphanan connection as Charles’s father John, who was a labourer, and two of the children, had been born in Lumphanan, the third in Tarland. In 1901 the family, by then including Charles aged three, were at East Mains, Inchmarlo. In 1911 they were recorded as being at East Lodge Inchmarlo, and Charles was 13 and attending school.
When Private Watt died of wounds on 7 April 1918 at the age of 20, he was serving in the 4th Gordons. The battalion war diary records heavy casualties in fighting towards the end of March 1918 in what became known as the First Battle of Bapaume, the first part of the German offensive launched on 21 March 1918 which aimed to drive allied forces back to the Channel ports. As part of the 154th Infantry Brigade of the 51st Division, the 4th Gordons were struggling to hold existing allied lines in the face of fierce opposition. It is unclear exactly when or in what circumstances Private Watt sustained the wounds from which he died. He is buried/commemorated at the Valenciennes (St Roch) Communal Cemetery, and is also listed on the Banchory war memorial.