Private, 79595, David George Melrose Watt – Died of Illness

Royal Army Medical Corps, 26th April 1916

David George Melrose Watt, taken from the Aberdeen University Roll of Service.

Aberdeen University Roll of Service

Extract from the above publication – WATT, DAVID GEORGE MELROSE:
Private, Royal Army Medical Corps ; son of Reverend William Watt, Minister, Strathdon ; born there, 11 August 1896; educated at the Public School, Strathdon. He was prepared by his father for the University and was also for a short time at Gordon’s College ; he matriculated in April 1914, was a student in Medicine for little over a year, and showed his mental worth by taking good places in Botany and Physics.
In November 1915 Watt enlisted in ” K ” Company, Royal Army Medical Corps, not that war, as such, had any attraction for him, but simply from a sense of duty. After six months’ training at Aldershot, he was chosen, as a Medical student, to go to Cambridge for a three months’ course in Bacteriology previous to his being sent abroad in the Sanitary Section of the Royal Army Medical Corps. This was never carried out, for he succumbed to serious illness, and died in hospital at Aldershot, 26 April 1916, at the early age of 19. Watt was a good student, of a lovable disposition, with a ” saving sense of humour,” and at the back of it there was a strong sense of duty carried with him from his boyhood spent among his native hills and glens.

British Medical Journal

Extract from page 739 of the above publication dated 25th November 1916 :- Private David George Melrose Watt, Royal Army Medical Corps, who died in hospital at Aldershot on April 26th, 1916, aged 19, was a medical student at the University of Aberdeen.  He was not of very robust physique, and the training at Aldershot proved rather severe for him.  He contracted influenza, and during convalescence complications set in which proved fatal. At the time of his illness he was arranging to undergo three months’ training in a bacteriological laboratory, previous to being sent abroad in the sanitary section of the R.A.M.C.

Cambridge Hospital, Aldershot where David Watt died.

Further Military and Life Research

On 14th April 1914, David commenced his Medical course at Aberdeen University.

David Watt enlisted at Aberdeen on 30 November 1915, at that time he was 5’7″ tall with a chest measurement of 35″ with an expansion of 2″.

He was admitted to the Cambridge Hospital, Aldershot on 22nd April 1916 and he remained there until his death on the 26th April 1916.

He is buried at Strathdon Parish Churchyard, Aberdeenshire.

His father was executor to his Will and his estate was valued at £43.

University Letter of Reference

The following letter was written by Principal Charles Stewart M.A. of Robert Gordon’s Technical College, Aberdeen dated 13th December 1915 :-

I hereby certify that Mr. David G.M. Watt attended a class in Practical Chemistry for 16 hours a week and a class in Systematic Chemistry for 2 hours a week at the Technical College, Gordon’s College, Aberdeen from August 1914 to April 1915.  Mr. Watt proved himself a diligent and successful student, taking a leading position in his classes, and gaining the first place in the last written examination.  From his knowledge of Chemistry I believe him well qualified to render valuable service as a Laboratory Attendant.

During the present Winter Session in Medicine Mr. Watt has attended the classes of Systematic Chemistry, Practical and Systematic Anatomy and Zoology. In none of these subjects, except Zoology, has a written class examination been held up to the date of his enlistment, but in that examination he obtained 77% of marks.  As Mr. Watt’s proficiency in Practical and Systematic Anatomy is in all probability similar to that in Zoology I have every confidence in recommending him to the Military Authorities for the position of an Operating Room Attendant.

Royal Army Medical Corps Cap Badge similar tot he one worn by David Watt.


David George Melrose Watt was born on 11 August 1896 at Strathdon, Aberdeenshire.

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

  • Father – William, born c.1854 at Insch, Aberdeenshire – Minister at Strathdon
  • Mother – Katherine, born c.1856 at Wilton, Roxburghshire
  • Brother – William Gordon, born c.1887 at Strathdon, Aberdeenshire
  • Brother – John Taylor, born 23 February 1887 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.

William 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.

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


At the date of his enlistment in 1915, he resided with his father at ‘The Manse’, Strathdon, Aberdeenshire.


There is no record of David having been awarded any medal.


David G.M. Watt is honoured and remembered on the Strathdon War Memorial and the Aberdeen City War Memorial.

Links to Additional Information


  • Commonwealth War Graves Commission
  • Aberdeen University Roll of Service
  • British Medical Journal – 25th November 1916
  • British Army Service Records
  • Register of Soldiers Effects
  • 1901 Census
  • U.K. Soldiers Who Died in the Great War 1914-19
  • U.K., Medical and Dental Students Registers 1882-1937 (1914)
  • Scotland, National Probate (calendar of confirmations and inventories) 1876-1936 (1916)



  • Vincent Stuart
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