Watson, Henry Lewis (1921-1942)
Sherborne School, UK, Book of Remembrance for former pupils who died in the Second World War, 1939-1945.
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Credit: Sherborne School Archives, Abbey Road, Sherborne, Dorset, UK, DT9 3AP.
Details: Henry Lewis Watson (1921-1942), born 22 October 1921, son of Henry Russell Watson, farmer, and Sarah Elizabeth Watson (née Coxon) of The Cottage, North Cadbury, Somerset.
Attended The Elms School, Colwall.
Attended Sherborne School (Abbey House) May 1935-July 1940; 6th form (modern languages); Head of School; Head of House; 1st XI cricket 1939, 1940 (captain 1940); 1st XV rugby football 1938, 1939 (captain 1939); Sergeant in OTC; Squash Badge; PT Instructor with Badge; member of Duffers and Eclectics.
WW2, Lieutenant in the King's Royal Rifle Corps. Killed in action at Ajdabiya, Libya on 27 November 1942, aged 21.
Previously buried at Ajdabiya Cemetery and reburied at Benghazi War Cemetery, Libya, 7. A. 3. Inscription on his headstone: ‘I SAW THE POWERS OF DARKNESS PUT TO FLIGHT, I SAW THE MORNING BREAK.’ www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/2064592/watson,-henry...
Sherborne School: War Memorial Staircase; Book of Remembrance; Abbey House roll of honour.
Obituary, 'The Shirburnian', March 1943: 'Henry Lewis Watson, son of H.B. Watson, of The Cottage, North Cadbury, Yeovil, was the last of three distinguished brothers to be educated at Sherborne. He came to Sherborne in the Summer of 1935.' The Headmaster, Alexander Ross Wallace, wrote: 'My first recollection of Henry Watson dates back to a Summer afternoon in May when I went down to watch a junior House match against "P.J's." Things seemed to be going quite well for School House until a very small sturdy sun-burnt boy went in to bat for the opposition. I was sitting with P-J. [P.E.H. Parry-Jones, housemaster of Abbey House] at the time and, as the runs began to mount and the aforesaid small boy refused to be intimidated by the fast or slow bowling, I asked him the name of the obstacle. "That," he said, "is Henry Watson, one of the best youngsters I have got. I think you will hear more about him in the future." My old friend was right as he so often was. I heard much more and saw much more of Henry Watson as the years went on and the small boy developed into a very sturdy young man, and became in turn Captain of the XI, Captain of the XV and Head of the School. And as I came to know him better my admiration and my affection grew. For through it all that same obstinacy which I had noticed in the junior cricket match remained one of his outstanding characteristics. Once Henry Watson got his teeth into something, he never would let go. And he had besides all the essential qualities of leadership, a very shrewd mind, though not of Scholarship calibre, a very strict sense of discipline, and that inborn quality of inspiration which can never be taught. But he was no grim, forbidding figure, and one of my happiest recollections is of his frequent bursts of spontaneous laughter, for he had a quick and lively sense of humour. Perhaps one of the most vivid memories is his marvellous performance on the Football field at Marlborough in 1939, and in the "Three Cock" 1940. But beneath all his gaiety and humour Henry was a boy of very deep religious life: he was a frequent visitor to the Friary at Batcombe, and though by no means orthodox in some of his views, he was a very sincere and thoughtful seeker after truth. I shall long treasure the memory of some hours spent here in this room talking with Henry about religion, and I remember well how just when the conversation seemed to be getting almost too serious, it would be relieved by some burst of humour from him. He came to see us all just before he left for North Africa, and the news of his death, in action, has caused most profound dismay among all his many friends at Sherborne. If Sherborne is to be judged, as she should be judged, by the quality of her sons, then we are very content to abide by such a verdict in the case of Henry Watson. Requiescat in pace.'