John Henry Watson
Serial No. 3576
4th Battalion & 53rd Battalion
John Henry Watson - Information
When the war began, John was living in Douglas Park with his wife. John was born in Sydney c1890, and later attended Pyrmont Public School. In Douglas Park, John raised a family of girls, supporting them working as a labourer. When he was 24, he enlisted in the AIF on the 4th of August 1915 at the Warwick Farm Depot. During training, John was made a Private with the 4th Battalion before receiving his travel orders. He farewelled his family as he sailed from Sydney on the 13th of October 1915 onboard the HMAT Port Lincoln.
John landed in Egypt in late 1915. In mid February 1916, he was transferred to the 53rd Battalion, joining them at Tel-el-Kebir Camp. In June, the 53rd was transported to the Western Front, arriving in Marseilles on the 28th. John and his unit took their place in the line, and were shortly brought into their first fight on the Western Front, the Battle of Fromelles. In an attempt to better their own line position and occupy German forces from the Somme region, commanders developed a plan to strike the Germans at Fromelles. On the 19th of July, the men left the trenches running into rapid German gunfire. Sadly, many troops became stuck in No Man's Land pinned down by fire, never to be heard from again. John was listed as missing in action on the 19th of July, when he failed to return to the lines. On the 2nd of September 1917, over a year later, the army concluded that John was killed in action on the 19th of July 1916. Sadly, before this, his poor wife was hoping against hope that John would turn up safe. His sacrifice is commemorated at the VC Corner Australian Cemetery and Memorial in Fromelles.