|No. 1732 Colour Sergeant George Waters had posed something of a problem in regards to which section the best place him.
He saw a good bit of action of the “in the field” sort in both Afghanistan and Egypt and his medical records seem to indicate
more than a little action of another sort too. I decided that since his last active service took place in Egypt that he is included
here in The Land of the Pharaohs section.
George Waters was born around 1852 at Dinton, Salisbury, Wiltshire. Employed as a brick maker prior to his enlistment which
took place at Salisbury on 6 July 1870 when he attested with the 72nd (Duke of Albany’s Own Highlanders) Regiment of Foot.
English by birth Waters association with a Scottish regiment may have had an unforeseen personal influence on him later on.
Waters service career seems rather typical in that he had a few minor scrapes with authority although these seem to have an
equally minor impact on the eventual ranks he held. Granted his first good conduct pay on 6 July 1872 he fell afoul of military
justice for the first time on 5 December 1873 when he was found guilty by court-martial and served two days in confinement
being released on 7 December 1873. He had his forfeited good conduct pay restored to him on 8 December 1874.
A note on one of the margins in his service papers stated that Waters had been granted permission to change his religion to
Presbyterian on 14 September 1876. He had been a member of the Church of England when he attested. One could guess that
being a member of a member of a Scottish regiment had more that a little to do with his change of denomination.
Appointed lance corporal on 3 March 1877 Waters received his second chevron on being promoted to corporal on 23
September 1878. On 15 October 1878 after completing eight years, ninety-nine days with the colours Corporal George Waters
re-engaged at Siaklot, India to complete 21 years service.
Promoted sergeant on 21 March 1881 he found himself on the wrong side of regulations not long after the 72nd Highlanders
became the 1st Battalion, the Seaforth Highlanders when on 1 January 1883 he was shown as being in confinement awaiting
trial for an unspecified lapse in judgment. What ever his misconduct had been Waters served no time but was reduced to
corporal though his sentence was remitted the same day.
Waters transferred to the Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders in May 1883. His service number also changed to No. 1337.
Promoted to colour sergeant on 19 July 1886 he transferred to the Permanent Staff of the 5th Volunteer Battalion, the Argyll
& Sutherland Highlanders on 13 April 1888. He continued as colour sergeant with the 5th Battalion until 1 May 1896 on which
date his service papers state that he died.
Waters medical record, at least the part that survives in the longest I have seen in any soldier’s record. Covering about a ten
year period it begins in 1871 with a 20 day bout of dysentery and ends in 1883 with an attack of rheumatism. In between there
are recurring cases of various fevers, sprains, hepatitis, dyspepsia, and about half a dozen instances of those two maladies that
were not the subject of polite conversation.
Waters first saw active service – and a great deal of it - in Afghanistan where he earned the Afghanistan Medal with four
clasps: “Peiwar Kotal”, “Charasia”, “Kabul” and “Kandahar”. Four clasps was the maximum number issued with this
campaign medal. Taking part in General Roberts' epic 300-mile march to relieve the besieged city of Kandahar, Waters also
received the gun metal Kabul to Kandahar Star.
George Waters sailed to Egypt via Aden in 1882 when the Seaforth Higlanders formed part of Sir Garnet Wolseley’s force that
was sent to put down Arabi’s rebellion against the Egyptian Khedive and protect the Suez Canal. Although his battalion took
part in the Battle of Tel el Kebir, Waters missed the scrape and was not entitled to any clasps for his Egypt Medal. As was
customary he was also entitled to the bronze Khedive’s Star.
George Waters - whose full name was George William Waters – was the son of George Waters of Dinton, Salisbury, also a
brick maker and his wife Jane. The younger George was the only son amidst three sisters: Mary Jane, Leah, and Eliza Jane.
From a family note that accompanied the above photograph Colour Sergeant George Waters had at least one son named
Charles. No other immediate family members were mentioned in the note and Sergeant Waters wife’s name remains a mystery
Carte de Visite
The Tower Bridge Photographic Company - Photographer
Tower Bridge Approach & 45 Union Road, Rotherhithe, London, S.E., England
Later c. 1890s reprint form a c. 1883 orginal