All in the Battalion were saddened to learn of the passing of BB stalwart, Mr Joe Watt, at the age of 81.
Mr Watt’s service in the BB started on 1st October 1950 when, at the age of 12, he was enrolled in the 1st Fraserburgh Company. He served through the ranks until 1956 when, reaching the upper age limit, he was discharged having given ‘good service’ to the company. A skilled gymnast he competed with the crack PT teams, winning the Town Council Shield in his final year.
After national service Joe returned to help his company, being officially enrolled as Lieutenant with the Company in 1964. This saw a tough time for the company, which fell into temporary abeyance in 1969. What followed afterwards was perhaps Mr Watt’s greatest accomplishment in the BB: a leading officer in the Company Joe worked hard to revive the 1st Fraserburgh from a Company in abeyance to one of the strongest companies in the area. During his stint as Officer-in-Charge of Company Section from the 1970s until 1989, the section regularly enrolled 40-50 boys.
In 1988 he became Captain of the 1st Fraserburgh, taking over as “Skipper” from his old friend Alastair Sinclair. Serving in that post for 4 years he was clear who the most important people in the company were: “the boys – without you there would be no Boys’ Brigade”. He saw the BB as an important means of delivering new skills to boys and, most important of all, to deliver them to a personal relationship with Christ.
When he retired in 1992, he did so believing it was now the turn of the next generation to lead.
His retirement was, however, virtually non-existent as the next chapter of his BB career opened instantaneously as a bandsman. Between 1992 and 2001 he taught and led the buglers of the award winning 1st Fraserburgh Bugle Band. He briefly served as bandmaster 2001-02 following the death of his great friend Mr Sinclair.
Joe also carried out a great deal of work for our Battalion. While the posts of Battalion high office never appealed to him, Joe worked for many years behind the scenes on the training committee and also as a member of the Company Section committee. By doing so he again worked hardest for the most important people in the organisation: the boys.
Following his second retirement in 2002 Joe did take more of a back seat but remained a dedicated supporter of the BB. As a respected Elder of the Church and BB he was often called upon as Inspecting Officer and his wife Sheila always had a job for him at the Anchor Boys parents night. There are hundreds of young men – and some not-so-young – around our Battalion who owe a great deal to Joe Watt for the time he gave in the hope of improving their chances in life. He is responsible for equipping a generation with new skills which undoubtedly gave them greater opportunities in life.
Upon becoming Captain in 1988 he remarked: “When the Company was started again 18 years ago, we had only a handful of boys. Many a Friday night we went home thinking, is it worth carrying on?”. We are grateful that he persevered!
At this sad time all at the Buchan Battalion offer our sincere and heart felt condolences to Mrs Sheila Watt, Joe’s devoted wife of 55 years, and their children Tracy and Peter, and grandchildren.
Capt M. A. W. Strachan
1st Rosehearty Coy.