Lt William Spalding Watts, 33rd Company Royal Engineers

The father of Lt Watts was also called William Spalding Watts and he was born at Great Yarmouth in 1864. The father became an apprentice cooper and fish curer at the age of 14 and his son was born at South Shield in 1895.

1895 Jul/Sep Born Tyne & Wear

1901 census at 55 Hedley St, South Shields

1911 census - at 55 Hedley St, South Shields

1917, Sapper Watts, as he was then, was part of The Sparks concert party, who gave a concert to troops in France. The Sparks were an Electrical Engineers concert party (hence the name). Sapper Watts sung solo the song Two Eyes of Grey, written and composed by Daisy Mc Geogh in 1903, and was one of the trio who sang Yaaka Hula Hickey Dula, by E. R. Goetz, J. Young and P. Wendling in 1916. “He also played the part of office boy in the play Vestibule of the Hotel De Quick.

1917 Jun 26 Posted back to UK for commission in Tyne Electrical Engineers

1917 Jul 5. Royal Engineers. Sapper William Spalding Watts to be 2nd Lt.

1919 Jan 5. Tyne Electrical Engrs.—The undermentioned 2nd Lts. to be Lts. : W. S. Watts.

He is demobbed soon fter this, but later volunteers for Ireland

1919 May 11. Gets a reference letter from his employers Messers Hepple & Co, Wapping

1919 He married Mabel M. Holt, at Medway, Kent, in 1919 and they had a daughter called Joan.

1921 Sep circe. Arrives in Ireland with RE

1920 Died Nov 15 in Waterfall Kidnapping .

1921 Feb 8. Still no news

1921 Nov 29. The British finally get proof that they have been killed. He is commemorated on Hollybrook Memorial, Southampton

Compensation cases ensued once death had been established.

His nephew, Mr Arthur Watts, said: “In 1962 a body was found mummified in a bog in Ireland which my father’s sister Ethel claimed was William because he had fair hair and was dressed in khaki shirt and pants. “I have my doubts about this because the men when taken were in plain clothes - but he may have had the army shirt and pants on under a coat.” The South Shields Gazette, on August 3 in 1962, said the body had been found by workers in Mountown Bog, Geevagh, County Sligo. Ethel Nichols told the paper: “The last time anyone saw my brother was at Waterford where he was holding his hands above his head surrounded by Sinn Feiners,”

I would agree that it was unlikely to have been this Lt Watts as the IRA were not known to have moved prisoners that far, from in this case Cork to Sligo, for execution. His identity was more local to Sligo see John Watt showing that he was a locally Sligo based soldier



British Soldiers died in Ireland

In a letter I have from William,s wife dated 1921 to his mother, she says a soldier had reported seeing three body's floating down the river shortly after they were taken, she also says that when she was in Cork that she had spoken a Colonel about William and he had a field dug up by the soldiers but only a dead horse was found. Another letter I have from Williams mother in-law dated 1921 to his mother, she mentions soldiers bodies being mutilated by the IRA after murdering them