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Bungy Watson
Born James Henry Digby Watson
(1890-08-13)13 August 1890
Died 15 October 1914(1914-10-15) (aged 24)
Occupation Physician

Military career
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch  Royal Navy
Rank Surgeon
Unit HMS Hawke

James Henry Digby "Bungy"[needs IPA]


</noinclude> Watson (31 August 1890 – 15 October 1914) was an English rugby union player. He won 3 caps for England, all in the 1914 Five Nations Championship. He was killed while serving as a surgeon aboard HMS Hawke when it was torpedoed and sunk by U-9 in 1914 during World War I, and is commemorated on the Chatham Naval Memorial.

Early life[edit | edit source]

Watson was born on 31 August 1890 at Southsea, to Captain James Herbert Watson, an engineer in the Royal Navy, and his wife Eliza V Watson. He attended The King's School, Canterbury from September 1899 to April 1906, and played for the First XV in 1905. He then transferred to Edinburgh Academy for his final two years of schooling, playing for the First XV there too. There he earned his nickname "Bungy" after using the King's Canterbury term for a rubber, which was unknown at the Academy.[1] He then studied medicine at Edinburgh University from 1908 to 1913, graduating Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery. At university, he played for the university rugby XV, and was also the university middleweight boxing champion.[1]

Rugby career[edit | edit source]

The last Five Nations championship match played before World War One was between England and France on 13 April 1914 at Colombes. Of those who played, six of the English, including Watson, and five of the French would go on to die in the First World War. Amongst Watson's teammates were Arthur Dingle, Francis Oakeley, Robert Pillman, and Ronnie Palmer.[2] Watson scored one try in England's 39–13 victory over the French.[3]

International appearances[edit | edit source]

Opposition Score Result Date Venue Ref(s)
 Wales 10–9 Won 17 January 1914 Twickenham [4]
 Scotland 15–16 Won 21 March 1914 Inverleith [5]
 France 13–39 Won 13 April 1914 Colombes [6]

Military service[edit | edit source]

HMS Hawke

At the start of the First World War, Watson was appointed Surgeon in the Royal Navy aboard HMS Hawke. The ship was part of the Northern Patrol, and on 15 October 1914, Hawke and HMS Theseus were patrolling in the North Sea, 60 miles off Aberdeen when a torpedo launched by the German submarine U-9 struck the Hawke amidships. The impact detonated the ship's magazine and caused two large explosions. The ship sank quickly with the loss of 525 men, including Watson.[1]

He is commemorated on the Chatham Naval Memorial, at Twickenham war memorial, and at Blackheath.[1]

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

Bibliography[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]

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