Lt. Col. Watson

Lieutenant Colonel G.K.W. Watson
190th (4th Winnipeg Rifles) Battalion

Civilians ought to remember that things which thrill them would not excite returned soldiers. They have seen too many strange unusual sights in France to he moved by flag-flapping and bugle blowing. No civilian, however old he might live lo be can see with the eyes of a man who has passed through hell and out again.

 (Watson, Winnipeg Tribune, 9 April 1919, 3)

George Kelsey William Watson was a Winnipeg insurance broker born in Wingham, Ontario on 12 January 1882. A member of the 90th Rifles, Watson enlisted as a captain with the 8th Battalion in September 1914. Wounded and shell shocked at Second Ypres, he was invalided to Winnipeg to raise the 190th Battalion.

Facing manpower shortages and struggling to fill the ranks, Watson reframed his recruitment difficulties by claiming that the battalion would only accept only the best Canadian-born volunteers. Less than 400 officers and men of the 190th sailed overseas in May 1917. Watson reverted to the rank of major and joined a labour unit in England. He was later attached to the Manitoba Regimental Depot and returned home on demobilization.

He died in Winnipeg on 25 March 1948.

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