WATT, Joseph William
(Service number 1457)
|First Rank||Private||Last Rank||Private|
|Date||18 July 1897||Place of Birth||Gore, Southland New Zealand|
|Date||30 October 1914||Age||17|
|Address at Enlistment||Balmain, Australia|
|Previous Military Experience|
|Next of Kin||Son of Joseph and Mary Watt nee Tretheway, Gleniti, Timaru|
|Served with||Australian Infantry AIF||Served in||Army|
|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|
|Service Medals||1914-1915 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal|
Award Circumstances and Date
Prisoner of War Information
|Date of Capture|
|Where Captured and by Whom|
|Actions Prior to Capture|
|PoW Serial Number|
Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses
|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)|
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; www.findagrave.com; Timaru Herald 23 Jun 1915; NZ War Graves Project
No documents available.
Researched and Written by
Liz Shea (SC branch NZSG); Ted Hansen (SC branch NZSG)
Currently Assigned to
Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License unless otherwise stated.
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