Alexandra,  Princess   of   Wales's   Own


Pte James C Watts.

The following photographs have been contributed by Simon Beeston.
His Great Grandfather, 293 Pte James Charles Watts, served with the 5th Battalion of the Yorkshire Regiment and was killed on the 27th February 1916. He had been born in 1875 in Aldershot to an Army family and went on to be one of fourteen children, several who joined the services. Census records show him to move from Aldershot to Beverley via Sheffield. He married Rosa Butters in 1903 in Beverley and had two children, Charles, Simon's Grandfather, and Wilfred. Pte Watts is buried in Maple Copse Cemetery.
He had served in the East Yorks Regiment from 1891 to 1908 and then worked in a local tannery.
Judging by his low Battalion number he must have been in the local Territorials some time before the War started.
The Battalion Diary records that they were in the trenches in Sanctuary Wood, East of Ypres, at the time of his death, but a family story says that he was a devout Catholic and was trying to "recover" a cross from a church when he lost his life.
Some of the photographs appear to feature the Machine Gun teams of the 5th Yorks taking part in a competition. Others were taken on different dates.
At the start of the First War each British Infantry Battalion had two machine guns and it was only after the top brass realised how deadly they were behind rows of barbed wire that the Machine Gun Corps was formed.
Infantrymen who had been trained on the guns were transferred to the new Corps.
If anyone can add any more information about the photographs please contact the email address given in the website Introduction.

Only man identified is Pte James C Watts, centre, first row behind first gun.

This photograph has a postmark from Bridlington, N Yorks dated the 13th July 1908. The men appear to have won cups for marksmanship with the Lee Enfield Rifle. Only man identified is Pte J C Watts seated cross-legged in the centre

Only man identified is Pte James C Watts, fifth from Left.

Only man identified is Pte James C Watts, standing second Left.

Only man identified is Pte James C Watts, fifth from Right.

Only man identified is Pte James C Watts, centre seated.

This photograph was posted from a training Camp at Richmond, N Yorks and dated 6th July 1910. Pte J C Watts sent it to his wife, Rosa, at 2 Queensgate in Beverley, N Yorks. He is only man identified, fourth from Left.

No one identified..

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