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Shot down by The Red Baron

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George Watt, first world war heroMost people are intrigued by the story of their own family, as as one gets older this kind of thing seems to grow in importance as one realises the speed that life passes by at. Children seem to grow up overnight and before you know it, you yourself become the ‘older’ generation of the family!

When recently embarking on some research into my husband’s family, we swiftly uncovered a a poignant story of bravery and tragedy from the First World War which has been very much in our minds whilst reading many of the current articles commemorating the centenary of the Great War.

My husband’s grandfather, George Watt KC, Sheriff Principal of Inverness & Northern Counties, had four children from his first marriage to Jessie who died soon after the birth of her last child. He subsequently married again and produced four further children of whom the youngest, Douglas, was my husband’s father.

The younger of the two older half-brothers to Douglas was called George Macdonald Watt, born 8th January 1890 and a direct half uncle to my husband.  A keen rugby football player, playing to County level, he attended Edinburgh University and then found employment  with a British timber company operating in Burma. In early 1916 he travelled, at his own expense, back to Britain to enlist and fight for King and Empire. Having joined the Royal Flying Corps he gained his wings in January 1917 and was sent to the Front shortly after, seeing active service with 16 Squadron. 


Armed with only a pistol and wing mounted machine gun, the aircraft were woefully unprotected whilst they endeavoured to take photographs of German fortifications and movements. Just two months after gaining his wings, he was shot down by the Red Baron, Baron Manfred von Richthofen, known as the Ace of Aces and credited with shooting down no less than 80 British aircraft before he in turn met his end on 21st April 1918. George Watt was just 27 years old.

So many lives lost on both sides and such bravery - if only indeed that war had really ended all wars.

This story has piqued our interest and we are now researching the family further and who knows what else we may unearth! I would heartily recommend that you have a go at some family research - the web really does help make this so much easier these days.  To get going I would recommend looking at the following websites, all of which have masses of useful information to help you get going:

- http://www.ancestry.co.uk

- http://www.findmypast.co.uk

- http://ukarchives.com

and if you have relatives from North of the border, http://scotlandspeople.gov.uk

And when you’ve got those photos together, why not send them to us and create a special family history collage http://collaggecompany.co.uk/collage-for.html to keep those memories alive. 

If you have photos and perhaps photos of military badges etc. and you are not too sure how they would work in a collage, give us a call on 01420 562 208.


Good luck and happy hunting!

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Emmy Watt set up ‘The Collage Company’ in 2010 after finding a gap in the digital photographic market. Instead of creating photo books, which end up on the shelf along with long-forgotten photo albums, they wanted to find a way of getting all your favourite photos out on show and still produce a quality product. Taking their marketing and design experience they have taken the traditional collage idea into the 21st century...


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