William Martin Watt, civil engineer, was the son of Hugh George Watt and his wife Amy Stanley, born Allan. In August 1904 he entered the civil service of the Cape Colony as assistant engineer in the Irrigation and Hydraulic Branch of the Public Works Department, where he remained until 1910. He was then appointed as agricultural engineer in the Department of Agriculture of Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), a position in which he gave advice on private irrigation schemes during 1911 to 1914, when World War 1 (1914-1918) broke out.
Watt published an article on 'Thunderstorms and lightning conductors' in the Rhodesian Agricultural Journal (1912, Vol. 10, pp. 230-234). He also wrote a pamphlet on The dangers and prevention of soil erosion, published as Bulletin No. 300 of the Rhodesia Department of Agriculture (1913, 11 pp).