Douglas Watson

Sergeant, Regimental Headquarters, 135th (Hertfordshire Yeomanry) Field Regiment. Royal Artillery.

Died on the 5th June 1946 aged 27.

Douglas was the son of Joseph Watson of 6 Weston Road and had been educated at Alleynes Grammar School.  At the outbreak of war the men of the Territorial forces were called to arms and his unit spent the early war years serving in various locations around the UK.

The Regiment sailed from Liverpool on the 28th October 1941, it’s original destination being the Middle East. On route orders were received diverting the Regiment to the Far East. After a long, arduous, eight-week journey that had taken them via Halifax, Cape Town & Bombay the Regiment arrived in Ahmednagar on the 27th December. After three weeks of intensive acclimatisation and training the Regiment embarked on the USS West Point for Singapore where they arrived at dawn on the 29th January 1942, just two weeks before the island fortress would capitulate to the forces of the Japanese Imperial Army.

On the 9th February the Japanese landed on the North Western side of the island and began what was to be the greatest defeat the British army had ever suffered. The Battery, with no combat experience, was called to defend the British colony and was involved in a series of bitter engagements with the enemy.

Douglas was one of many thousands who passed into captivity but it was not until July 1943 that his father received a postcard from him saying he was a Prisoner of War in Japan. Although Douglas survived the terrible deprivations of a Japanese prison camp he died on the 5th June 1946 as a result of treatment received whilst a prisoner.

Douglas is buried in the Newbury Municipal Cemetery, Berkshire. (Grave 1921.) 

Posted in .