Henry George Watkin (Wickham's. 1886-91)


Major, Hussars, Brigade Major, 2nd South Midland Mounted Brigade

Born: August 18th 1874
Died: August 21st 1916

Age at Death: 42

Died of wounds, Suvla Bay, Gallipoli, August 21st 1916

A donation to the memorial statue has been made in honour of this soldier by Stephen Yiduo Chen (Sc. 2011-2016).

Brighton College Register: Son of Major H.S.S. Watkin, R.A. - later Colonel Watkin, C.B. (born in India 1844). 
Mother: Sophia Annette (born in Hertfordshire 1849).

Husband of Evelyn Watkin, of Stawley, Somerset. Married in 1902. 

Major Henry George Watkins
Henry George Watkins was born in 1873 and was a pupil at Brighton College between 1886 and 1891 where he was a member of ‘Mr Wickham’s house’. His family origins are something of a mystery and it is possible that his parents lived abroad, perhaps somewhere in the British Empire, as that would account for their absence from the census records. In later life Henry Watkins listed his address as 92 Onslow Gardens, Kensington, Middlesex, London which was then, as now, a fairly prestigious address.

George Watkins was a professional soldier who had originally been commissioned into the 4th Hussars. However, in August 1915 he had been posted as Brigade Major, essentially chief of staff, in the 2nd South Midland Mounted Brigade a unit of predominantly yeomanry cavalry sent to take part in the aftermath of the Sulva Bay landings at Gallipoli. On 21st August 1915 the brigade had been dismounted to reinforce the lines at Sulva Bay as part of the desperate second landing made in August 1915 to attempt in vain to salvage something from the wreckage of the original Gallipoli landings in April. During the battle of Scimitar Hill at Sulva Bay on August 21 1915 Henry Watkins was wounded and died of his wounds later the same day. The whereabouts of his grave is not recoded and it is possible that he was buried at sea after having died on a hospital ship anchored in Sulva Bay, of which there were several.

Interestingly, following Henry Watkins’ death Probate for his considerable estate was granted to a fellow officer from the 4th Hussars, a Captain Richard Moseley. This indicates both that George Watkins had few, if any, close relatives and also how the close the bond of trust formed between brother officers in the same regiment was.

Source: LEST WE FORGET PROJECT, Brighton College 2014/15

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