Watters, James Campbell

Watters, James Campbell (James)

Second Lieutenant

71st Siege Battery, South African Heavy Artillery

Died of wounds on Friday 19 October 1917 (aged 27)


Nine Elms British Cemetery, Belgium (Grave VI. A. 2)


Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Newtownards and District War Memorial


James Campbell Watters was born on 13 January 1890 in The Manse, Sligo and he was the elder son of the Rev Francis Octavius Montgomery Watters MA and Mrs Kathleen Elizabeth Watters (nee Campbell) who were married by special licence granted by the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland on 16 July 1884 in the bride’s residence – Ardmore, Galway.  Francis Octavius Montgomery Watters’s residence at the time of his marriage was Kilrea, Co Londonderry.  Kathleen Elizabeth Campbell was a daughter of James Campbell, a merchant and JP, then deceased.

The Watters family lived in Kilrea and at 17 Magheraboy, Sligo.

The Rev Watters was a Presbyterian minister and he and Kathleen Elizabeth had at least four children:

Annie Whigham (born 28 April 1885 in Kilrea, Co Londonderry)

Francis (born 29 May 1888 in The Manse, Sligo)

James Campbell (born 13 January 1890 in The Manse, Sligo)

Thomas Marshall (born 12 November 1891 in The Manse, Sligo)

James Campbell Watters’s grandfather, the Rev Thomas Watters, was also a Presbyterian minister who for many years ministered in Regent Street Presbyterian Church Newtownards and it was in Newtownards that James’s father Francis was born.

The Rev Francis Watters and his family moved to South Africa where he ministered to the congregation of Wynberg, Cape Colony.

The Rev Thomas Watters died in Movilla Street, Newtownards on 26 April 1892 (aged 84).

In 1913 James Watters graduated with a BA degree from Cape University and was preparing to enter the Ordained Ministry in the Presbyterian Church.  He enlisted on 1 August 1915 at Rondebosch and in his attestation papers it was noted that he was 5 feet 10¼ inches tall with a dark complexion, brown eyes and black hair.  He cited his mother as his next-of-kin and her address was Craigroyston, Bissett Road, Wynberg.

Second Lieutenant James Watters served with the 73rd Battery South African Heavy Artillery and he was hospitalised for a period in 1916.  On 21 February 1917 he was granted a commission in the field and posted to the 71st Battery.  On 18 October 1917 he suffered severe shrapnel wounds to both legs and died in hospital the following day.  His family placed a death notice in the 24 November 1917 edition of the Newtownards Chronicle and his connection with the town was reported under the headline The Supreme Sacrifice, Grandson of Late Rev Thomas Watters, Newtownards.

At the time of James’s death his parents were living in The Manse, Darling, Cape Province in South Africa and his younger brother, who was serving as a Gunner in German East Africa, was in hospital.

Second Lieutenant James Campbell Watters was buried in Nine Elms British Cemetery, Belgium and there is an inscription on his CWGC headstone:


Second Lieutenant James Campbell Watters is commemorated on Newtownards and District War Memorial.