WATT, Joseph William
(Service number 1457)

First Rank Private Last Rank Private


Date 18 July 1897 Place of Birth Gore, Southland New Zealand

Enlistment Information

Date 30 October 1914 Age 17
Address at Enlistment Balmain, Australia
Occupation Seaman
Previous Military Experience
Marital Status Single
Next of Kin Son of Joseph and Mary Watt nee Tretheway, Gleniti, Timaru
Religion Presbyterian
Medical Information

Military Service

Served with Australian Infantry AIF Served in Army
Military District

Embarkation Information

Body on Embarkation 2nd Reinforcements
Unit, Squadron, or Ship Australian Infantry, 1 Battalion
Date 11 February 1915
Transport HMAT Seang Bee A48
Embarked From Sydney, Australia Destination Suez, Egypt
Other Units Served With
Last Unit Served With Australian Infantry AIF, 1st Battalion

Military Awards

Campaigns Egypt, Gallipoli
Service Medals 1914-1915 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 17 May 1915 Age 17
Place of Death Gallipoli, Turkey
Cause Killed in action
Notices Timaru Herald, Volume CII, Issue 15684, 18 June 1915, Page 7
Memorial or Cemetery Lone Pine Memorial
Memorial Reference Panel 15
New Zealand Memorials On Memorial wall, Timaru, Lone Pine Memorial Gallipoli Peninsula Turkey, Australian War Memorial (panel 31)

Biographical Notes

Joseph was born in Gore, Southland, on 18 July 1897, the son of Joseph and Mary Watt nee Tretheway. He was educated at the Timaru Main School, being admitted 5 August 1902 and then going on to the Upper School in September 1904.

Joseph left home in 1911 to join the SS Amokura.The SS Amokura was previously HMS Sparrow, an old gunboat launched in September 1889, which was purchased by the NZ Government and converted into a seagoing training ship for boys who wished to enter into the navy or mercantile marine. Boys were accepted between the age of 13 ½ and 14 ½ years for two years training and paid one penny a day. The SS Amokura ended her days in 1955 as a wreck at St Omer Bay, Kenepuru Sound.

Before enlisting in the Australian Army at Liverpool NSW on 30 October 1914, Joseph was employed as a seaman and gave his last address as Balmain. His enlistment papers state him as being aged 20 years 4 months old so he obviously added 3 years onto his age so he could serve overseas. He is described as being single, of fair complexion, chest 31 inches, weight 10 stone 5 lbs, height 5 foot 10 inches, eyes dark brown and hair brown. He signed on for war service plus 4 months and embarked from Sydney11 February 1915 with the 2nd reinforcements, 1st Battalion Australian Infantry, on HMAT Seang Bee A48 for Suez Egypt.

Joseph landed at Gallipoli on 30 April 1915 and was killed in action on 17 May 1915. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Lone Pine Memorial. At wars end his father was sent a memorial scroll and Joseph’s 1914–1915 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal. Personal effects were also despatched via Thomas Cook & Son per SS Ulysses in two packages March and April 1916 and his final effects from AIF Kit Store London via SS Barunga June 1918.

The Timaru Herald 23 June 1915 reported: “Private Joseph Watt, son of Mr J. Watt of Maungatai, who has been killed at the Dardanelle’s, was only 17 years of age. The first that his parents knew of his being at the war was when they received notice of his death (says yesterday’s Timaru Herald). He left home four years ago to join the Amokura, and when the war broke out he joined the first Melbourne Battalion.”


Military service record, National Archives Australia;; Timaru Herald 23 Jun 1915; NZ War Graves Project

External Links

Related Documents

No documents available. 

Researched and Written by

Liz Shea (SC branch NZSG); Ted Hansen (SC branch NZSG)

Currently Assigned to

Not assigned.

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