Person    | Male  Born 7/9/1876  Died 28/3/1918

Lieutenant Colonel Oliver Cyril Spencer Watson, VC

War dead, WW1 i

Commemorated on a memorial as having died in WW1.

Born Oliver Cyril Spencer Watson. After leaving the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst, he served in India, Gallipoli and eventually France.

On 28th March 1918 at Rossignol Wood, north of Hebuterne, a counter-attack had been made against the enemy, but was in danger of failing. Watson saw that immediate action was needed and led his remaining small reserve organising bombing parties under intense fire. Outnumbered, he finally ordered his men to retreat, remaining himself in a communication trench to cover the retirement. The assault he led was at a critical moment and without doubt saved the line, but he was killed covering the withdrawal. He was awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross for his deeds.

Awarded the VC for his heroism on 28 March 1918, aged 41, while serving in the King’s Own (Yorkshire Light Infantry). "As an acting Lieutenant Colonel commanding the 2nd/5th Battalion, King’s Own (Yorkshire Light Infantry) at Rossignol Wood, north of Hebuterne, France, he had made a counter-attack against the enemy position. At first this achieved its objective, but as they were holding out in two improvised strong-points, Lieutenant Colonel Watson saw that immediate action was necessary and led his remaining small reserve to the attack, organising bombing parties and leading attacks under intense fire. He held his life as nothing, his splendid bravery inspired his troops; such self-sacrificing devotion and exceptionally gallant leading, knowing he faced almost certain death. Outnumbered, he finally ordered his men to retire, remaining himself in a communication trench to cover the retirement. The assault he led was at a critical moment and without doubt saved the line, but he was killed covering the withdrawal. (Gommecourt, France)". Freemason at: №3427, Loddon Lodge.

Credit for this entry to: Alan Patient of www.plaquesoflondon.co.uk

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Lieutenant Colonel Oliver Cyril Spencer Watson, VC

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