Posts Tagged ‘Grandad’s cousins’

William Balfour CAMPBELL was born at Leslie on 20 July 1894 and was the youngest child of John and Julia (nee Balfour) Campbell. Julia was my great grandmother Ann (nee Balfour) Watson’s elder sister, therefore William Balfour Campbell and my grandfather David George Watson were first cousins. David George was born on 21 January 1894, six months before his cousin.

William was commissioned into the British Army on 4 December 1914. This photo of him shows him wearing the uniform of the Gordon Highlanders.

photo william balfour campbellI wrote to the Gordon Highlanders Museum to see if they could tell me more about the photo. Today I received the following reply from Museum research volunteer Bert Innes:

While there is no known photograph of William Campbell  held in the Museum archives, the officer in the photograph is most certainly a Gordon Highlander

The jodhpurs or plus 4 type trousers, which were either of dark  cloth or Regimental Gordon Tartan; the boots, gaiters and spur devices and the uniform tunic with rank badge(s) are of the period.  The officer is wearing the Gordons’ glengarry headdress with the silver or white metal Regimental Staff cap badge.  Shown on the lapels of his Highland officers’ pattern tunic is the “SPHINX” “collar dogs” or badges.

It is difficult, from the stance of the officer, to give his rank with certainty, but this is shown on his left tunic sleeve cuff.  You will note the one “pip” or cloth diamond shaped badge of rank, with the possibility of one other “pip” hidden from view.  This officer was either a 2nd Lieutenant (one “pip”) or Lieutenant (two “pips”).

The Museum is aware of William Campbell’s military service of which I believe you are likewise.  I note his impressive group of medals were offered for sale a few years ago.

The above mentioned medals are shown below.

William-Balfour-Campbell-meThe photo of these medals came from a fabulous blog called British Army Medals – take a look at it if you have an interest in war medals. Thanks very much to the writer of the blog Paul Nixon for allowing me to use the image. This is the information he had on his blog post about William Balfour Campbell.

Medals held:
1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal and MiD, General Service Medal 1918 (clasps Kurdistan and Iraq), India General Service Medal (clasp Waziristan 1921-24).

This from the medal dealer’s write-up at the time of purchase in March 2008:

A fine Officer casualty ‘MID’ group of 5: Major W.B. Campbell, 2nd Battalion 8th Punjab Regiment late 1st Battalion Gordon Highlanders

– 1914-15 Star (Lieut W.B. Campbell, Gord Highrs)
– British War Medal 1914-18 (Capt W.B. Campbell)
– Allied Victory Medal. With oakleaf emblem for a Mention-in-Despatches (Capt W.B. Campbell)
– GSM 1918. GV first type with 2 clasps ‘Kurdistan’ & ‘Iraq’ (Capt W.B. Campbell)
– IGS 1908. GV type I & clasp ‘Waziristan 1921-24’ (Capt W.B. Campbell, 2-8 Punjab R)

Note: The group professionally court mounted by Spink

William Balfour Campbell, was born 20 July 1894, at 120 High Street, Leslie, Fife, Scotland. His father was described as being a ‘Railway Engine Driver’. His family later moved to St.Andrews, where the family resided at 158, South Street. Notwithstanding the prevailing social discrimination that worked against giving men from ‘working class’ backgrounds a commission, the onset of the Great War quickly challenged old attitudes to class and William Campbell was commissioned into the British Army on 4/12/1914, and appointed to serve with the 1st Battalion Gordon Highlanders. He first entered France and Flanders on 4/10/1915. He remained in France until 2/4/1916, on which date he was wounded in action by ‘GSW’ near St.Eloi, while serving as the battalion ‘Bombing Officer’ in charge of the ‘Grenade Section’ – a singularly hazardous appointment in any B.E.F. battalion. Indeed his section had been in action in the early hours of 2/4/1916 in a series of counter-attacks to regain a prominent position on the salient. 1/Gordon’s battalion war diary for the period refers;

” Three attempts were made in early morning to get back point 64 which the enemy was still holding. Canadian and Royal Scots bombing parties took part but attempts failed owing to the enemy occupation of a shallow trench in rear from which he could bomb 64 thereby preventing our occupation. There was some heavy shelling during the day. 2nd Lt. W.B. Campbell was wounded.”

William Campbell served just over 6 months in France and Flanders, before being invalided back to Scotland suffering from the wounds he had received in action. While in Scotland recovering, he applied for a transfer to the Indian Army. On 31st July 1917, his application was accepted. He embarked on a troopship for India on 11 October 1917 as a probationer for the Indian Army. He subsequently served in Mesopotamia from 15/5/1918 through to 1920. He was Mentioned-in-Despatches (MID) for his distinguished services in Iraq, the MID notification being published in the London Gazette of 9/9/1921. He appears to have retired from the Indian Army, with the rank of Major by 1930

With various copied research papers, including his Officers papers for the ‘British Service’ and the application/referrals for a commission in the ‘Indian Army’

Condition: GVF

The above text supplied by Aberdeen Medals.

William’s name appears in the University of St Andrews Roll of Honour and Roll of Service published in 1920.

rollofhonourroll00univ_0009rollofhonourroll00univ_0064 william balfour campbellThe * beside William’s name indicates that he was a member of the University OTC (Officers Training Corps).

By September 1921 William held the rank of Captain in the Indian Army. He appears on the following passenger lists in 1921, 1922 and 1924. Click on the images to enlarge them.

william balfour campbellTNA_BT27_0982_00_0003_P_0002FTNA_BT27_1054_00_0055_P_0001FWilliam never married and died, aged 54 years, at Carnoustie, Angus, Scotland on 10 May 1950. He died of chronic bronchitis, asthma and coronary thrombosis. It would appear he died alone as his death registration says he was found at 3.35pm and was last seen at 8.40am.  Grey Lodge was noted as his usual residence – I wonder if this was perhaps a boarding house. william balfour campbell death notice.

death william balfour campbell




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I’ve been playing on Ancestry.com today and have just discovered this passenger list that shows William Hugh Watson leaving London on board the Moreton Bay headed for Australia in 1924. His previous address was Watson’s Buildings, Cocklaw St, Kelty. His occupation was miner.

moreton bay

Moreton Bay

(Click on the image to enlarge for easier reading.)

william hugh emigrate to ausI now question whether the newspaper article in the last blog post was correct. That article said William left New Zealand in the early 1920s for Queensland and then Rarotonga. This document would appear to disprove that statement.

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In 1960 William Hugh and Marie Watson went on a trip to the United Kingdom. They travelled on the SS Southern Cross.


southern cross passenger list


TNA_BT27_1913_02_0004_C_0031F TNA_BT27_1913_02_0004_C_0108F

Willie’s two brothers, John and George, had emigrated from Scotland – John to New Zealand and George to Australia. The following newspaper article describes the meeting of Willie and John after 43 years apart.

two meet after 43 yearsUnfortunately I don’t know when this article was published. It would have been before 1968 as John was Mayor of Westport from 1956 – 1968 and the article says that John was the present Mayor of Westport. Here’s a photo of John and Willie. Once again, I don’t know when it was taken. Looks as though Willie’s still in his pyjamas and dressing gown! Maybe he was unwell.

From left to right: Nancy Clark, William Hugh Watson, unknown, John Watson, Marie Watson

From left to right: Nancy Clark, William Hugh Watson, unknown lady, John Watson, Marie Watson. Nancy Clark is John’s eldest daughter. I wonder if the unknown lady is perhaps one of Willie and Marie’s daughters? Update: Thanks very much to Kala Marie Bailey (Willie Watson’s great granddaughter) for letting me know that the unknown lady in red is her nena Betty Bailey – Willie and Marie Watson’s daughter.

I don’t know much more about William and Marie. If anyone has any anecdotes about them please share. My mum said Willie was a lovely man. Apparently when she was pregnant with my brother Ian, Willie and Marie visited the Watson family at Whangarata. A few months later a case of oranges arrived addressed to Baby Watson, Whangarata.

William Hugh Watson died in Rarotonga Hospital on January 10th 1984. Marie also died in Rarotonga Hospital on November 2nd 2003.

willie death certificatewillie death notice

marie death noticeWillie is buried at his daughter Jean’s house. I presume Marie is there as well. The photo below was taken in 2000.

willie headstone

The website http://www.cookislands.org.uk  has the following explanation about gravestones in gardens: “Don’t be surprised to see gravestones in the gardens of homes as you travel round the island.  Islanders are often buried on family land and the graves tended lovingly.”

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My great grandfather’s brother George Watson’s first wife Ann (nee Hodge) Watson died on 4 December 1897 after being ill with typhoid fever and enlargement of liver for 21 days. She died in Elgin Road, Cowdenbeath. Mayfield House, the home of my great grandparents William and Ann (nee Balfour) Watson, is situated in Elgin Road. When Ann died she left George to care for five children, the youngest Christina Deas, born on 16 January 1897, was only 11 months old.

Nine months after Ann’s death, on 7 September 1898, George remarried. George was 37 years old and his new bride was Elizabeth Robertson, aged 42, occupation housekeeper. The ceremony took place in Parnwell, Cleish. Just over a year later Elizabeth gave birth to a son. William Hugh Watson was born at 7.45am on 30 September 1899 at Elgin Road, Cowdenbeath.

The 1901 census shows the family living at Glow House in the village of Oakfield. Interestingly, Christina does not appear on this census. I wonder where she was?

george census 1901

postcard_upper_oakfield_kelty_1911William Hugh Watson emigrated from Scotland after WWI and ended up in the Cook Islands some time between 1928 and 1930 after working in New Zealand and Australia. He established a firm of clothing manufacturers in Rarotonga which later became United Island Traders Ltd. He was a member of the Rarotonga Island Council for seven years, a member of the Cook Islands Legislative Council for six years, and a member of the Cook Islands Legislative Assembly from 1957 to 1960.

William married a beautiful Cook Island lass, Marie Peyroux. I recall seeing this photo of them sitting on my nana’s (Jean Charlotte (nee Wilson) Watson) mantlepiece.

Marie (nee Peyroux) and William Hugh Watson

Marie (nee Peyroux) and William Hugh Watson

Here’s another photo of Willie that I found online.

Willie Watson, Rarotonga. Whites Aviation Ltd :Photographs. Ref: WA-00963-G. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22836068

Willie Watson, Rarotonga. Whites Aviation Ltd :Photographs. Ref: WA-00963-G. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22836068

To be continued …


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