Harold Newall Watson

From The Dreadnought Project
Jump to: navigation, search

Commander (retired) Harold Newall Watson, (27 September, 1882 – 17 May, 1930) served in the Royal Navy. One of his four brothers was Reginald James Newall Watson, who also served in the Royal Navy. Harold's Royal Navy career, however, would be limited by a marked psychological frailty.

Life & Career

Watson gained six months' seniority upon passing out of Britannia in January, 1898. He served first in the battleship H.M.S. Jupiter of the Channel Squadron until late March 1899 when he was appointed to the armoured cruiser Warspite in the Pacific. He left Warship in September, 1901 to attend the Royal Naval College.[1]

Watson was granted fourteen days of sick leave by C-in-C, Portsmouth on 8 February, 1903. This proved insufficient, and on 19 March, 1903 he was granted three months sick leave due to neurasthenia.[2]

Watson was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant on 27 December, 1903. In September 1904 he was placed on a list of candidates to qualify as Lieutenant (G). He was, however, immediately given three weeks leave in England, and in October he reported himself unable to travel and produced a medical certificate to demonstrate this fact. His place on the gunnery list was apparently then given to another man.[3]

Watson served in the destroyers Shark, Violet, Dove and Leda in 1903 and 1904 before being appointed to the battleship Prince of Wales in the Mediterranean on 18 May, 1904. He remained in her through her paying off on 28 May 1906.[4]

Watson then expressed an interest in specialising in navigation, but his request to do so was refused for reason that he was at this point too senior to make the transition. After being again medically evaluated and declared fit on 27 October 1906, he was appointed to the Royal Naval Barracks, Devonport in December.[5]

Captain Frederic Edward Errington Brock found Watson "very dull in his work" and reported that he "had been discharged to hospital with nervous breakdown". In May Watson was declared to suffer from neurasthenia and "hysteria" in addition to having defective eyesight. He was placed on the Retired List as unfit on 20 September, 1907. In 1909, he accepted a commission in the Territorial Force.[6]

Watson was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant-Commander (retired) on 27 December, 1911.[7]

When the Great War broke out, Watson was recalled to service – first at a Naval Camp in or near Portsmouth. After two weeks, he was appointed as executive officer in the training establishment Fisgard on 2 September. He was re-appointed there as Acting Commander on 13 August, 1915. On 9 March 1917, he was reported sick on shore suffering from insomnia depression and loss of concentration. In November, he was declared unfit to travel, and medically related notations in his service record are profuse and difficult to read. In mid December 1917, he was to return to duty. Another medical leave was required between February and April, 1918.[8]

Two days after again being deemed unfit, Watson's work at Fisgard ended on 24 October, 1918. He received a sympathetic evaluation from Paymaster Captain William Hewetson who "regret[ted] his leaving the ship on account of ill health."[9]

Watson reverted to the Retired List in March 1919 and was promoted to the rank of Commander (retired) in recognition of service rendered during the war with seniority of 11 November, 1918.[10]

In late May 1921, Watson was admitted to Yarmouth Hospital, where he stayed until being discharged to the care of his brother F. Newall Watson of Ridgecombe, Hindhead, Surrey on 6 July.[11]

Harold Watson died in Milan on the 16 May (as reported in his service record) or 17 May (as reported in The Times[12]), 1930.

See Also

Bibliography

Naval Appointments
Preceded by
Gerald L. Saurin
Captain of H.M. T.B. 71
21 Jul, 1903[13]
Succeeded by
William F. Sells

Footnotes

  1. Watson Service Record The National Archives. D7603749 ADM 196/47/43. f. 247.
  2. Watson Service Record The National Archives. D7603749 ADM 196/47/43. f. 247.
  3. Watson Service Record The National Archives. D7603749 ADM 196/47/43. f. 247.
  4. Watson Service Record The National Archives. D7603749 ADM 196/47/43. f. 247.
  5. Watson Service Record The National Archives. D7603749 ADM 196/47/43. f. 247.
  6. Watson Service Record The National Archives. D7603749 ADM 196/47/43. f. 247.
  7. Watson Service Record The National Archives. D7603749 ADM 196/47/43. f. 247.
  8. Watson Service Record The National Archives. D7603749 ADM 196/47/43. f. 247.
  9. Watson Service Record The National Archives. D7603749 ADM 196/47/43. f. 247.
  10. Watson Service Record The National Archives. D7603749 ADM 196/47/43. f. 247.
  11. Watson Service Record The National Archives. D7603749 ADM 196/47/43. f. 247.
  12. "Commander H. N. Watson, R.N.." The Times (London, England), Wednesday, May 21, 1930; pg. 21; Issue 45518.
  13. "APPOINTMENTS FOR THE NAVAL MANOEUVRES." The Times (London, England), Thursday, Jul 16, 1903; pg. 8; Issue 37134.