RANGERS Graves Project is delighted to provide a further update on the project work being carried out at Craigton Cemetery Glasgow to restore the final resting places of those men who built our Club.
Late last year our research, gleamed from the records at the Mitchell Library, confirmed that a James Wilson who was trainer at Rangers from 1897 and a respected individual who also worked tirelessly with the building process of our great Club, had died suddenly due to a bout of double pneumonia in 1914 at 21 Princes Street in Govan aged 52 and was buried at Craigton Cemetery.
Bill Struth who was trainer at Clyde at this time was offered Mr Wilson’s job at Rangers but refused to take another man’s place at our Club and that changed upon the sudden passing of Mr Wilson. The Club had actually organised a benefit match for Mr Wilson against Everton at Ibrox only a week before he passed.
We recently discovered Mr Wilson’s stone at Craigton and were incredibly fortunate that although sadly it was off it’s base it was lying on the grass inscription side up.
A real chill went through us as we cleared the earth and moss from James Wilson’s stone and the words ‘’Trainer of Rangers’’ emerged. Last week Mr. Wilson’s stone was re-erected and cleaned and will have the lettering re-done over the coming weeks.
Late last year we also we located the final resting place of Rangers player James Watt. Sadly his gravestone was also lying on the grass at Craigton cemetery.
James Watt was a member of the legendary 1877 Scottish Cup Final team and was a good club man. Goalkeeper in the 1877 Scottish Cup Final side, he was a fine last line of defence. He lost his position to the hugely talented George Gillespie when Gillespie decided playing outfield was a wee bit on the rough side for him.
In the 1879/80 SFA annual James was described as “a goalkeeper of considerable promise” and a year later he was in the list of those “now retired”! On at least two occasions he had played outfield.
President in 1876 – 1877, he also served the Club as Honorary Treasurer in 1878 – 1879 and 1879 – 1880.
It was in this capacity he joined club captain Tom Vallance in leading Rangers’ protest to the SFA after the 1879 Scottish Cup Final. (In the drawn match with Vale of Leven, a Willie Struthers goal was disallowed by the referee. Rangers argued it should have stood.)
James was a machinery merchant, a partner in Dimmack and Watt, iron and steel merchants. Sadly, like three of his colleagues, Peter Campbell, Sandy Marshall and William Dunlop, he did not live to be present at the 1877 Cup Final anniversary dinner of 1898. James had died a few weeks earlier on 22 March. He had suffered from heart disease.
Yesterday afternoon James Watt’s Stone, which is in a fragile condition was re-erected and cleaned.
These men gave us everything that we enjoy today and it’s a pleasure to give them back a bit of dignity and respect .