I’ve been asked where my fascination with Dr. Watson has come from. To tell the truth I can’t remember when I wasn’t interested in the man. As a small child my father (who taught English and Russian Literature at a university in NY) got me hooked on the Sherlock Holmes stories. Just his way to get me to learn to read I guess. But in reading Holmes, both the canon and the hundreds of pastiches, there was always the unknown quantity – Watson. He was intelligent, athletic, a fine shot, a good horseman and an Army veteran. But so much was unknown; How had he been at the Battle of Maiwand when his regiment was hundreds of miles away. What happened to his family? What had been his education, and on and on. As a career Army officer and Desert Storm veteran, wanting to know about Watson led me to wanting to know about the Second Afghan War and the disaster at Maiwand. Enormous lessons to be learned there. As a horse owner and raiser I wanted to know how Watson became a horseman. As a competitive shooter I wanted to know where he learned to handle a pistol, doubtful it would be in the streets of London. Why did he choose medicine over a more active occupation? And after 12 years of law enforcement I empathised with the often flexible outlook he took on the literal aspects of the law.
In looking at how Watson became who he was I looked first to things I knew about him. He enjoyed the army and missed it his whole civilian life. Why else the constant references to it? He was not a church going man but had an abiding faith. He had an inquisitive mind that was open to new ideas but had the nagging feeling of change not always being good. And even though he was an author, he was a man of few words when it came to the part he played.
In “Watson’s Afghan Adventure” I have tried to answer many of the above questions and contradictions found in Watson. Hopefully his inquisitive mind, his adventuresome nature and his loyalty stand out in this tale.