Lieutenant James Graham Watts, the son of Walter Graham Watts and Stella Muriel Watts (nee Patching) was born at Brisbane in Queensland on 9th April 1914. He was educated at the Toowoomba Grammar School and whilst a student there he served in the Cadet Unit. At the age of 26 years and 1 month he voluntarily enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force at Kelvin Grove in Brisbane on 31st May 1940 after swearing an oath that he would serve for the duration of the war and an additional twelve months. At the time of his enlistment he was unmarried, employed as a Clerk and residing at 30 Macintosh Street, Auchenflower, Brisbane. His physical description at the time of his enlistment was that he had brown hair and brown eyes. He stated that he was of the Presbyterian religion. He gave his next of kin as his father, Mr Walter Graham Watts, residing at 31 Godsall Street in Toowoomba. He married Hilda Cecelia Watts on 5th May 1942 and she is shown as residing at 4 Roslyn, 11 Gould Street, North Bondi, New South Wales.
Lieutenant James Watts was allotted the regimental number of QX6581 and he joined the 3rd Australian Corps Troops Supply Company at Redbank Camp as a Private on 2nd April 1940. He was granted pre-embarkation leave during the period 15th November until 21st November 1940 to farewell his family and finalize his person affairs prior to leaving for service overseas with the Australian Imperial Force. He embarked by sea transport from Sydney in New South Wales on 27th December 1940 and disembarked from the ship in the Middle East on 2nd February 1941. He was graded as a Group 3 Clerk on 22nd March 1941. He was appointed to the rank of Lance Corporal on 20th June 1941. He left his unit to attend a Royal Army Service Corps training school on 20th June 1941 and he rejoined his unit on 20th July 1941 having qualified in the course.
Lieutenant James Watts relinquished his position as a Group 3 Clerk on 12th January 1942 and was promoted to the rank of Acting Corporal on the following day. He embarked from the Middle East on His Majesty’s Australian Transport “Andes” on 18th February 1942 and he disembarked from the ship in Adelaide in South Australia on 16th March 1942. He was transferred to the Headquarters of the Central Australian Transport Column on 27th April 1942 and on the following day he was promoted to the rank of Acting Sergeant. He married Hilda Cecilia Watts on 5th May 1942. He left to join the Western Australia Line of Communication at Claremont on 13th July 1942. He was appointed to the rank of Acting Lieutenant on 6th October 1942. He was transferred to the 3rd Australian Corps Transport Supply Company on 19th October 1942.
He attended an instruction course at Seymour during the period 26th April until 15th May 1943 and he rejoined 3rd Australian Company Australian Army Service Corps on 29th May 1943. He joined the Victorian Line of Communication General Details Depot at Seymour on 14th May 1943 and on the following day left to join the general Details Depot at Sydney. He was transferred to the General Details Depot in Perth on 24th May 1943.
Lieutenant James Watts was involved in a vehicle accident on 29th August 1943 whilst on a convoy exercise with No. 37 Company of the Australian Service Corps. He was evacuated to the 118th Australian General Hospital but was dead on arrival at the hospital. At the time of his death James Watts was 29 years of age. He was buried in the Karrakatta War Cemetery. A Court of Enquiry into his death found that no negligence was involved and his death was purely accidental.
Lieutenant James Watts for his service during World War 2 qualified for the 1939/1945 Star, the Africa Star, the War Medal, and the Australian Service Medal. His name is commemorated on Panel No. 85 at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra and locally on the Toowoomba Grammar School WW2 Honour Board, the Toowoomba Mothers’ Memorial, and the Toowoomba Soldiers’ Memorial Hall WW2 Honour Board.
His mother applied for and subsequently received a Female Relative Badge with two stars on 11th August 1941.
His wife applied for and subsequently received a Mothers and Widows Badge with one star and a Female Relative Badge with one star on 14th October 1943.
Toowoomba Grammar School archive records show that he enrolled as a day student on 24th July 1928 and he left the School on 5th December 1930. His parent was shown as Mr Walter Graham Watts. He passed the Junior examination in seven subjects and played cricket for the School.