Steve joined the navy as an artificer apprentice in September 1974. Steve ‘Soapy’ Watson had been coach of the Navy’s first team for five years and only two weeks before led the team to Twickenham in the match against the Army.
A keep-fit fanatic, the 49-year-old was a keen field gun runner and squash player who adored his wife Lynne and three children. Despite his fitness the warrant officer suddenly collapsed and died of a heart attack on Monday 15th May 2006 at HMS Collingwood in Fareham.
Eldest son Dave said: ‘Everybody’s a bit choked up about it. It really came out of the blue. He had no heart problems at all but there’d been an undetected build-up of cholesterol. ‘The Twickenham game against the Army was his last game as coach and he just wanted to do a bit more fitness work for himself. He didn’t want the young lads to think he wasn’t fit. But then he just collapsed. Everybody’s still in shock.’
The family home has been inundated with cards and letters of condolence from friends and colleagues who knew Steve during his 32-years with the Navy.
Soapy's last game in charge was the 9-3 defeat against the Army at a wet Twickenham on 6th May. In a personal letter of thanks from First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir Jonathon Band, said of Steve's time as a coach: ‘The boys think the world of you and you are so well known around the Fleet, that your job as EWO will be a walk in the park. ‘You have been nothing short of brilliant...and I know the players will miss you more than you will ever imagine. ‘You are a charming man, Soapy, a real pleasure to be with and I wish you and your family all the very best.’
Steve’s son Dave, who followed his father into the Navy as an aircraft mechanic, said ‘Being in the Navy was such an important part of his life. He did his 22 years service and signed on to do a few more years. He loved it that much. ‘But he was a real family man as well. We’re all going to miss him badly.’
A full military funeral was held for Steve on Tuesday 30th May 2006 at St Mary’s Church, Alverstoke.