Captain, Medical Officer, William Gordon Watt, M.B., D.P.H.

Gold Coast Regiment

Aberdeen University Roll of Service

Extract from the above publication – WATT, WILLIAM GORDON : son of William Watt; born at Strathdon, 4th April 1886. M.B., 1908; D.P.H., 1909. Medical Officer, West African Medical Staff, 1911. Mobilized, 7 August, 1914. Attached Gold Coast Regiment. Served – Togoland Field Force; Base Hospital, Duala (Cameroon), August 1914-December 1915. Final rank, Temporary Captain. Received thanks of Secretary of State for services rendered.

Togoland and Cameroon Campaign

Germany’s West African colonies consisted of Togoland (Togo) and Kamerun (Cameroon). They were poorly defended and surrounded on all sides by French and British colonies. Togoland was conquered in August 1914 by forces from the British Gold Coast (Ghana). Kamerun had a garrison of about 1,000 German soldiers supported by about 3,000 Africans. Three British columns attacked from Nigeria, but all three were defeated by a combination of rough terrain and German ambushes.

The French then attacked south from Chad and captured Kusseri. Early in September, a Belgian-French force (from the Belgian Congo) captured Limbe on the coast. With the aid of four British and French cruisers acting as mobile artillery, this force then captured the colonial capital of Douala on 27 September 1914. The Belgian-French troops then followed the German-built railroad inland, beating off counter-attacks along the way. By November 1914, Yaounde was captured and most of the surviving Germans had either retreated into neutral Spanish Guinea or to the interior where they held out in posts at Jaunde, Garua, Banjo, Jokoo and Fumban. The Allies gradually captured these and the last German fort surrendered in February 1916.

Courtesy of the National Army Museum.

Further Military and Life Research

  • The Medal Roll for the Gold Coast Regiment shows that David Watt served at Togoland from 12 August 1914 and then moved into the Cameroon Theatre of Conflict from 13 November 1914.
  • 7 May 1917, he arrives at Liverpool from Seccondee (Gold Coast) aboard the ship S.S. Abinsi, his occupation is shown as Medical Officer.
  • 30 May 1919, he arrives at Liverpool from Sekondi (now in Ghana) aboard the ship, S.S. Elmina.
  • He is buried at Starthdon Parish Churchyard, Aberdeenshire and his memorial stone states that he died in 1976, he was married to Marjory J. Lorimer and his qualifications were shown as M.B., Ch.B., D.P.H., D.T.M., A.D.S.S. (Gold Coast)
Unknown British Officers and West African Troops – Courtesy of the National Army Museum.

Further Travel and Work

  • 18 December 1920 arrives at Liverpool from Sekondi (now in Ghana) aboard the S.S. Zaria. Occupation given as ‘Medical’.
  • 1 October 1923 arrives in Liverpool from Sekondi (now in Ghana) aboard the S.S. Abinsi. Occupation given as ‘Sanitary Officer’.
  • 19 March 1924 departs Liverpool for Accra (then British Gold Coast, now Ghana) aboard the S.S. Appam. – Occupation given as ‘Medical’.
  • 27 June 1925 arrives Liverpool from Accra (then British Gold Coast, now Ghana) aboard the S.S. Appam. Occupation given as Sanitary Officer.
  • 20 May 1927 arrives in Liverpool from Accra (then British Gold Coast, now Ghana) aboard the S.S. Apapa.


William Gordon Watt was born on 4 April 1886 at Strathdon, Aberdeenshire. He married Marjory J. Lorimer on an unknown date.

In the 1901 Census his address is shown as The Manse, Strathdon, Aberdeenshire living with the following:-

  • Father – Reverend William, born c.1854 at Insch, Aberdeenshire – Minister at Strathdon.
  • Mother – Katherine, born c.1856 at Wilton, Roxburghshire.
  • Brother – John Taylor, born 23 February 1887 at Strathdon, Aberdeenshire.
  • Sister – Mary Eliza Vida, born c.1889 at Strathdon, Aberdeenshire.
  • Brother – David George Melrose, born 11 August 1896 at Strathdon, Aberdeenshire.

There were 5 other non-family members of the household who were employed, 3 as cattlemen and two as domestics.

His brother John Taylor Watt was a Medical Officer attached to the West African Field Force serving in Nigeria, Cameroon and Somaliland. He survived the war.

His brother David George Melrose Watt joined the Royal Army Medical Corps on November 1915. He died of illness during or shortly after his initial training.


Although he travelled to and resided in Africa over many years, his home address was shown as The Manse, Strathdon, Aberdeenshire, at least up until 1923.


William Gordon Watt was awarded the 1914-15 Star, the Victory and the British War Medals for his service in the Great War.

Medal Index Card for William Watt.


William is honoured and remembered in the Aberdeen University Roll of Service book.

Links to Additional Information


  • Aberdeen University Roll of Service
  • Medal Index Card
  • U.K. and Ireland, Incoming Passenger List 1878-1960
  • U.K. and Ireland, Outward Passenger List 1878-1960
  • Medal Roll – Attached Columns Operating in Togoland and Cameroon – British War and Victory Medals
  • Medal Roll – Gold Coast Regiment – 1914-15 Star
  • Find a Grave website


Contributor :-

  • Vincent Stuart
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