Thomas William Watts was the son of Lieut-Colonel Luther Watts and Bertha Watts of 'Sinhala', Aughton.
His brother Norman Luther Watts also fell
An extensive biography appeared in Liverpool's Scroll of Fame. His photo appeared in the biography and is reproduced here with the kind permission of Liverpool Record Office.
9th Battalion,
IF it was surpassed in point of magnitude by the subsequent gigantic struggles of the closing phases of the war, the Battle of Loos marked an important stage in the operations of the British Army, and was up to the time of its being fought certainly the greatest offensive action our forces had ever undertaken. Not only were they outnumbered in those days, but they lacked the material support which was afterwards forthcoming in the way of artillery, aircraft, tanks, and other mechanical devices, and consequently much more depended upon the individual deeds of gallantry, which were performed by the score, and many a brave officer laid down his life whilst bravely urging his men forward to the attack.
   The 9th King's (Liverpool Regiment) played a conspicuous part in the struggle, but was called upon to pay a heavy price both in officers and men. One of its valiant leaders who made the supreme sacrifice was Second-Lieutenant Thomas William Watts, son of Lieut.-Col. Luther Watts, O.B.E., V.D., of Sinhala, Aughton, near Ormskirk, who also lost another son (whose memoir appears on another page) on the same date twelve months later. Second-Lieutenant Watts, who was born in 1890, was educated at Merchant Taylors' School, Crosby, an institution which gave hundreds of its old boys to the army.
   On the outbreak of war he joined the 9th Battalion (The King's) as a private, and after spending several months training he was gazetted to a commission in the same regiment. He proceeded overseas in March, 1915, and served continuously with the battalion throughout the summer, a period of great anxiety owing to the overwhelming strength of the enemy. During that time it was a case of British pluck and pertinacity - qualities which were not lacking in our officers - against German numbers, and Second-Lieutenant Watts was one of the best type of British soldiers. His utter fearlessness and disregard of danger endeared him to all ranks, and his bearing and courage on many occasions when he was under heavy fire was undoubtedly an inspiration and incentive to his men. Not only was he popular with both officers and men, but he was also trusted, and that his men would follow him anywhere was proved several times when volunteers were appealed for to undertake dangerous duties.
   The Battle of Loos was fought on September 25th that year, and the story of how the British stormed the almost impregnable German positions on that day will live for ever as an example of British valour unsurpassed either before or since. Wave after wave was mown down by artillery or machine-gun fire, but, spurred on by their officers, still they came, unflinchingly giving their lives in what must have appeared to be a hopeless object. Second-Lieutenant Watts was slightly wounded early in the attack, and was ordered to go to the dressing station for attention. But he refused to leave his post, and, urging his men forward, he fell where every true soldier wishes to fall, at the head of his men leading them against the enemy.
   Nothing better describes the part played by this gallant officer, and the admiration and respect the rank and file had for him, than the following quotation from a letter written by one of his men to the bereaved parents, which, though lacking in literary embellishments, is nevertheless the sincere expression of a man for the officer who led him into action:-
   "He was liked by my side, and he died like a true soldier. His cry was 'Come on, boys,' when he was struck, and fell before reaching the German lines. He was good to the boys, and when we lost him he was badly missed. It was a day I shall never forget as long as I live. The boys made a name of which Liverpool should be proud as the days roll by . . . . I am proud of him; he has done his bit like a true Briton."
   Another private who was also by his side when he fell wrote: "He shouted, 'Come on, boys,' and a few seconds afterwards he was shot through the heart. He died like a true British soldier, as he was one, and he inspired all his lads with courage and pluck, such as won the grand name that our regiment has well earned."
   And as showing the popularity of Second-Lieutenant Watts among his fellow officers we reproduce the following received by Colonel Watts:-
   "We, the undersigned officers of the 3/9thh Battalion the King's (Liverpool Regiment), desire to convey to you and yours our deep sympathy in your great bereavement. It is very hard to lose one so young and full of promise, but there is some consolation in the fact that he gave his life for his country in probably the greatest battle in our history."
   Many letters of sympathy were received from friends and acquaintances of the young officer. They all emphasise his manly qualities and his high spirit of patriotism, which led him to give his life for his country in the greatest and noblest of all causes.