Lieutenant, Medical Officer, John Taylor Watt

Royal Army Medical Corps

Royal Army Medical Corps Cap Badge, similar to the one worn by John Watt.

Aberdeen University Roll of Service

Extract from the above publication – WATT, JOHN TAYLOR M.B. : Son of William Watt; born Strathdon, 23 February 1887, M.B. 1913. Medical Officer attached to the West African Field Force. Served – North Nigeria and Cameroons, August 1914 – February 1916; Somaliland, September 1916 -February 1918, August 1918 – October 1919.

Further Military and Life Research

John Watt was a Medical Officer (Doctor) in the Royal Army Medical Corps.

On the 21st September 1914 he was promoted to Temporary Lieutenant whilst employed and attached to the forces in West Africa.

He was a member of the 5th Nigerian Regiment and served in the Kamerun (Cameroon) Theatre of War from the 21 September 1914 to 7 March 1916 as a Medical Officer.

On 25 August 1916, John leaves London to Somaliland aboard the S.S. Nagoya.

On 17 March 1918, John arrives in London, from Aden aboard the ship S.S. Nore.

John was to survive the Great War and went on to serve in the Merchant Navy during World War Two.

He died at Wayside, Banchory on 1st June 1966 aged 79 years. He is buried at Strathdon Parish Churchyard, Aberdeenshire.

Somaliland Camel Corps

Further Travel and Work

  • 6 August 1921 arrived at Liverpool aboard the S.S. Ekari from Lagos, Nigeria.
  • 14 September 1926 arrived at Liverpool aboard S.S. Zaria from Calabar, Nigeria. His address at this time was given as 106 Desswood Place, Aberdeen.
  • 21 April 1942, arrived in New York aboard the S.S. Myrmidon. He was Ship’s Surgeon.
  • 3 June 1942, departs Glasgow aboard the S.S. Myrmidon, arriving in New York on 19 June 1942 – He was Ship’s Surgeon.
  • 14 Octobar 1950, arrives at San Francisco aboard the S.S. Agamemnon from Kobe, Japan – He was Ship’s Surgeon.
  • 4 November 1950 arrived at New York aboard the S.S. Agamemnon from Kingston, Jamaica – He was Ship’s Surgeon.
S.S. Myrmidon prior to WWII, John Watt was the Ship’s Surgeon in WWII.

The history of the S.S. Myrmidon is interesting during WWII in that on:- 13.4.1941: A parachute mine exploded alongside on Henderson’s Wharf, Birkenhead. Whilst being towed to safety vessel exploded an acoustic mine causing her to settle on the bottom. Subsequently raised and repaired.
5.6.1941: Sailed from Birkenhead and once again exploded a mine in the River Mersey. Subsequently repaired and sailed during 12.1941.
5.9.1942: Whilst on a voyage from Glasgow via Freetown and Table Bay to Bombay and Colombo, was sunk with a torpedo by the German submarine U-506 in a position 00.45N., 06.27W., in the Gulf of Guinea. All crew and passengers were rescued and landed at Pointe Noire, French Congo. The vessel was being escorted by H.M.S. Brilliant and the boom defense vessel H.M.S. Fernmoor. It is unknown if John Watt was aboard the vessel during these times as the ships records are not at this time digitised.


John Taylor Watt was 5’7″ tall and born on 23 February 1887 at Strathdon, Aberdeenshire.

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 – William Gordon, born 4 April 1886 at Strathdon, Aberdeenshire
  • Brother – David George Melrose, born 11 August 1896 at Strathdon, Aberdeenshire
  • Sister – Mary Eliza Vida, born c.1889 at Strathdon, Aberdeenshire

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

Brother William Gordon Watt the elder brother of David was to serve in the West African Forces in the Great War and was attached to the Gold Coast Regiment as a Medical Officer serving in Togoland and Cameroon. He survived the war.

Brother David George Melrose Watt died in Aldershot following an illness on 26 April 1916.


In the 1911 Census, he is shown as residing at ‘The Manse’, Strathdon, Aberdeenshire, and is also shown as a resident there in the 1920 Electoral Roll.

14 September 1926 – his address is given as 106 Desswood Place, Aberdeen.


John Taylor Watt was awarded the Victory and the British War Medals for his service in the Great War. He was undoubtedly eligible for the 1914-15 Star for his service with the 5th Nigerian Regiment in the Cameroon Theatre of War, however, I can find no trace of that issue in his Medal Index Card or Medal Rolls.

John’s Medal Index Card.


John Taylor Watt is honoured and remembered in the Aberdeen University Roll of Service book.

Links to Additional Information


  • The London Gazette dated 10 August 1916
  • Aberdeen University Roll of Service
  • Medal Index Card
  • Medal Roll – 5th Nigerian Regiment – British War and Victory Medal
  • Medal Roll – Somaliland Camel Corps – British War Medal
  • U.K., WWII Medals Issued to Merchant Seamen, 1939-45
  • U.K. and Ireland, Incoming Passenger List 1878-1960
  • U.K. and Ireland, Outward Passenger List 1878-1960
  • Aberdeenshire Electoral Role – 1920


Contributors to Research:-

  • Vincent Stuart
  • Keith Hollick
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