Friends of the Somme - Mid Ulster Branch  
Date Information
30/12/2015 His attestation papers describe him as five feet, five inches in height and chest girth at 34 inches with a 2 inch expansion, he had fair hair, dark complexion and blue eyes. He had a number of tattoos, one of a sailor and an Irishman on his right forearm and a skull and cross bones and flags on his left forearm.
30/12/2015 From the Toronto Star dated 26th October 1916:
30/12/2015 Private W G Watterson, killed in action, formerly resided at 83 Rosethorn Avenue. He was 42 years old and enlisted in Toronto with one of the third contingent battalions. He was a carpenter by trade, and is survived by a widow, who on Saturday received a message that her husband had been killed in action on 30th September.
30/12/2015 Walter George Watterson was born on 29th June 1874 at Ballynasollus, the son of Joseph Watterson and Barbara Jane Watterson (nee Scott).
30/12/2015 On 12th March 1897 Walter George was married to Matilda (Tillie) Barnes in Trinity Church of Ireland, Shankill, Belfast. The marriage was witnessed by, William Magee and Martha Harvey. Tillie was a daughter of David Barnes and Matilda Barnes (nee: Watterson) of Tamnaskeeny. David and Matilda had married in Sandholes Presbyterian on 24th September 1856 and lived at Tullyreavy.
30/12/2015 By 1901 census records, Walter George and Tillie were living in Montreal Street, Shankill, Belfast, where Walter George was working as a Cementer/Labourer and Tillie listed as a housewife. They are recorded as being of Plymouth Brethren denomination.
30/12/2015 By 1903 Walter George had emigrated to Canada. Traveling on board the Mount Temple, leaving the port of Liverpool on 29th September 1903 and arriving in Montreal, Quebec on 10th October 1903. He is listed as a Labourer and his destination as Toronto, Ontario.
30/12/2015 His wife Matilda followed him later on board the Laurentian, which left the port of Liverpool via Moville, Donegal on 24th December 1903, arriving in Halifax, Nova Scotia on 3rd January 1904.
30/12/2015 By 1915 the First World War was barely into its second year. Walter George Watterson and his wife Tillie were living at 83 Rosethorn Avenue, Toronto when he joined the ranks of the Canadian Army. He attested on 6th July 1915 in Niagara, Ontario, stating that his date of birth was 29th June 1879 by which he would have been 36 years old even though his birth certificate states his birth year as1874 by which he would have been 41 years old. As the upper age limit for joining up was 41, he may have falsified this date.
30/12/2015 The 20th CEF battalion was authorized by the Privy Council on 6 August 1914 for service overseas and was mobilized on 7 November 1914 at the Exhibition Grounds, Toronto. It was raised from volunteers from the following Militia regiments of Central Ontario: 12th York Rangers, 20th Halton Rifles, 23rd Northern Pioneers, 31st Grey Regiment, 34th Ontario Regiment, 35th Simcoe Foresters, 36th Peel Regiment, 37th Dufferin Rifles, 39th Haldimand Rifles, 44th Lincoln and Welland Regiment, 77th Wentworth Regiment, 97th Algonquin Rifles.
30/12/2015 The 20th Canadian Infantry embarked for Great Britain and trained at Salisbury Plain during the summer of 1915. Upon arrival in France on 15 September 1915, the battalion was assigned to the 4th Brigade, 2nd Division, Canadian Corps and given a section of the front on the Ypres Salient, near Messines. Duty holding the line included: nightly patrolling in no man's land, endless repairs to wire and trenches, and almost continuous enemy shelling. The winter of 1915-16 was spent in a routine of 18 days on the front and 6 days in the rear, all the while battling lice, trench foot, and disease. In March 1916, steel helmets were issued to all ranks.
30/12/2015 In the spring of 1916, the Commander of the British Second Army decided that it was essential for an enemy salient near the village of St. Eloi to be eliminated. Following attacks and counter-attacks, the 4th Brigade tried to retake the craters that the 6th Brigade was forced to fall back from. The 20th Battalion managed to retake one crater and held it through a month of concentrated shelling. In one month, the 4th Brigade suffered 1373 casualties. On 15 September 1916 the Second Division joined the attack at the Somme, supported by tanks for the first time. The infantry captured three lines of trenches and reached their final objectives in just 40 minutes. The tanks, however, had broken down. Meanwhile, the 20th was trying to consolidate its position despite taking machine gun fire from both flanks. Early October brought heavy rain and a second attack at the Somme. Under heavy shelling, the 20th captured two lines of trenches in close combat, mainly with grenades and bayonets. In both these actions, the 20th captured all of their objectives and held them until relieved, but at a cost of 111 killed and 319 wounded in only three weeks.
30/12/2015 Walter George Watterson was killed in action on 30th September 1916.
30/12/2015 Private W G Watterson has no known grave and is commemorated on Vimy Memorial.
30/12/2015 Tillie returned to Ireland and married Mr Joseph Black, the brother of William John Black who was married to Tillie’s sister Mary Jane (nee: Barnes)
30/12/2015 By 1911 census records finds Walter George living in lodgings in Cobalt, Ontario. He is listed as working as a Miner. Silver was discovered in Cobalt, Ontario in 1903 and by 1905 Cobalt was the largest Silver mining camp in the World.
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