(Service number 2/2291)

Aliases Ralph Thomas WATSON on CWGC.
First Rank Gunner Last Rank Gunner


Date 25 December 1897 Place of Birth Wellington

Enlistment Information

Date 17 June 1915 Age 20 yrs 2 mths
Address at Enlistment Pokororo, Motueka Valley
Occupation Farmer
Previous Military Experience 12th Regt (still serving)
Marital Status Single
Next of Kin A. EVERETT (stepfather), Pokororo, Motueka Valley
Religion Anglican
Medical Information Height 6 feet. Weight 11 stone. Chest 35-39 inches. Complexion fair. Eyes blue. Hair dark brown. Sight, hearing, colour vision, heart and lungs all normal. Limbs and chest well formed. Full movement of joints. Teeth good. Free from hernia, varicocele, varicose veins, haemorrhoids, inveterate or contagious skin disease. Vaccinated. Good bodily and mental health. No slight defects.

Military Service

Served with NZ Armed Forces Served in Army
Military District

Embarkation Information

Body on Embarkation 7th Reinforcements
Unit, Squadron, or Ship Field Artillery
Date 9 October 1915
Transport Aparima or Navua or Warrimoo
Embarked From Wellington Destination Suez, Egypt
Other Units Served With
Last Unit Served With New Zealand Field Artillery

Military Awards

Service Medals 1914-15 Star; British War Medal; Victory Medal
Military Awards

Award Circumstances and Date

No information

Prisoner of War Information

Date of Capture
Where Captured and by Whom
Actions Prior to Capture
PoW Serial Number
PoW Camps
Days Interned
Liberation Date


Date Reason

Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses

Post-war Occupations


Date 15 October 1916 Age 18 yrs
Place of Death Somme, France
Cause Killed in action
Memorial or Cemetery Caterpillar Valley (New Zealand) Memorial, Somme, France
Memorial Reference
New Zealand Memorials Ngatimoti War Memorial, Tasman District

Biographical Notes

Ralph was the son and only child of William John Turner WATSON and Annie (nee ARSCOTT) EVERETT (formerly WATSON). On 15 November 1903 he won a prize for Infant boys at the anniversary of the Congregational Church Sunday School. On the same occasion in 1904 he gained the 2nd prize for Boys Class III. He was educated at the Timaru Main School before moving to Tasman St and Central Nelson schools, thereafter at Nelson College. In December 1910 he steered the winning crew in the final of the Nelson Rowing Clubs fours. Ralph embarked from Alexandria for France on 7 April 1916 and in July was fighting in the first line of trenches, but enjoying very comfortable accommodation and, it seems, entering into the fighting spirit with the enthusiasm of youth. In July 1916 his grandfather, Thomas ARSCOTT, received a letter from Ralph who was then fighting in France, in which he talks about life in the trenches and displays a certain bravo - "We are having a right good time, . . ." [copy printed]. Just two months later he receives word that his grandson Ralph has been killed in action. Ralph was very young when he enlisted (in fact, only 17 years old, not the 20 he stated) and when he was killed, having spent his 18th birthday in Egypt. A stepbrother EVERETT also served in WWI. His mother married Albert EVERETT in 1913 after getting a divorce in 1910 on the grounds of desertion. In 1897 his father was a hotel-keeper at Makikihi. Shortly after Annie and William spent twelve months pubbing in Gisborne, then nine months in Wellington before moving to Christchurch. In April 1898, Annie and her little boy, Ralph, went home to her parents in Timaru. Annie sought maintenance but nothing materialized, so she took on dressmaking to support herself and Ralph. Ralph's next-of-kin at his death was his mother Mrs A, EVERETT, Pokororo, Motueka Valley, to whom his medals were sent. He was a well built young man, in good physical shape and relatively free of injury, only to be knocked down so cruelly just a year after embarking and in the prime of life. In the short Will he left, everything was to go to his mother.


Cenotaph Database [04 April 2014]; N Z Defence Force Personnel Records (Archives NZ Ref. AABK 18805 W5557 0119707) [08 May 2014]; ; CWGC [04 April 2014]; Timaru Herald, 16 November 1903, 12 December 1904, 22 December 1909, 1 August 1916, 1 November 1916, NZ Truth, 26 February 1910 (Papers Past) [04 & 05 April 2014]; Photograph of Ralph Watson, originally published in The Nelsonian, July 1917 - used with permission of Nelson College, per Anne McFadgeon [see emails of 14 May 2014] (held by Tony Rippin at South Canterbury Museum) [14 May 2014]; Anne McFadgen's blog site - [14 May 2014], or an illutrated version of the article on the Prow website at [4 August 2015]; Ralph Watson and the Everetts of Nelson. [25 June 2014]]; SCRoll web sumission from J Lemaire, 9 April 2015; Portriats (x4) of Ralph Watson taken by the Tyree Studio, held by Nelson Provincial Museum (reference 89544; 93221; 93222; and 93223) shared with permission. The original images can be found on their online catalogue at

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