Oscar Cyril Spencer Watson ["Tales of the V.C."]

Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry V.C.


    • Article with annotations.
    • Lieutenant Colonel O. Watson D.S.O. of the Yorkshire Regiment attached as commanding officer to Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry (KOYLI), was awarded the V.C. for bravery on 28th March 1918 near the villages of Bucquoy and Hebuterne at Rossignol Wood. During this act he was killed. During the March 1918 offensives of the German Army the enemy captured a trench of the 2/5th Battalion KOYLI. The unit then counter-attacked against a now strongly held German position which at first achieved its objective; but after coming themselves under an enemy counter-attack they were forced to hold on in two improvised strong-points. Lieutenant Colonel Watson saw that immediate action was necessary in an attempt to hold them, consequently he led his remaining small reserve in an assault, organising bombing parties and leading attacks under intense fire. They were then outnumbered and in danger of being overwhelmed he finally ordered his men to withdraw, remaining himself in a communication trench to cover the retirement. The assault he led was at a critical moment and without doubt kept the Germans from the British reserve trenches. Unfortunately the C.O. was was killed as he covered his men's withdrawal. This account of Watson's actions was written by James Price Lloyd of the Welsh Regiment, who served with Military Intelligence. After the war, the government to destroyed all the archives relating to this propaganda (section MI 7b (1)). They were regarded as being too sensitive to risk being made public. Remarkably these documents have survived in the personal records of Captain Lloyd. Many of these papers are officially stamped, and one can trace the development of many individual articles from the notes based on an idea, to the pencil draft which is then followed by the hand-written submission and the typescript. The archive "Tales of the VC" comprises 94 individual accounts of the heroism that earned the highest award for valour, the Victoria Cross. These are recounted deferentially and economically, yet they still manage to move the reader. Date stamp: 2 October 1918.




  • Date:

    • 1918-03-28
  • Temporal:

    • 2013-05-07 21:08:21 UTC
  • Place/Time:

    • Western Front



  • Rights:

    • http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/

References and relations


  • Location:

    • Rossignol Wood near Bucquoy and Hebuterne, France
    • #50.1302635,2.662993400000005
  • Place/Time:

    • Western Front
Longitude: "2.6629934"
Latitude: "50.130264"

Find out more

View at Europeana 1914-1918 .

Can I use it?

Free Re-use
  • Subjects, resource types, genres and forms (Concepts)

  • Place names (Places)