10 Interesting Facts about Dr. John Watson

Sherlock Holmes’ loyal friend and (literal) partner-in-crime deserves to be celebrated! Here is a list of ten facts about John Watson that you may not know!

Book Culture On This Day

Today is the assumed birthday of Dr. John Watson, the fictional character from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories.



Note that I say “assumed birthday” because there is actually some discrepancy about whether Watson’s birthday falls on July 7th or August 7th, or whether he was born in 1852 or 1853. Generally, it appears as if American fans of Doyle’s classic mystery stories recognize July 7th as Watson’s birthday, while the British readers prefer to cite August 7th as his special day. Check out this blog post to learn more about how these dates were established!

Regardless of which day you choose, Sherlock Holmes’ trustworthy, loyal friend and (literal) partner-in-crime deserves to be celebrated! Here is a list of ten facts about John Watson that you may not know!


1. Dr. John Watson narrates fifty-six out of the sixty Sherlock Holmes stories.

2. John Watson was a forerunner to other popular sidekicks in mystery literature, one being Agatha Christie’s character Captain Arthur Hastings, who’s the partner to the famous fictional detective Hercule Poirot.

3. In Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s early drafts of the Sherlock Holmes stories, Watson’s original name was “Ormund Sacker.”

4. The debugger in Microsoft Windows is named “Watson” after Conan Doyle’s character.

5. John Watson came into contact with Sherlock Holmes because both men told a mutual acquaintance, Stamford, that they were each seeking a new roommate. Stamford introduced Watson to Holmes and the two quickly moved into 221B Baker Street.




6. Watson was discharged from the British Army following a bullet wound to the shoulder.

7. In the Sherlock Holmes stories, Watson has two wives: the first was Mary Morstan, who dies by the time Holmes returns after faking his own death. Readers never learn about Watson’s second wife, not even her name.

8. It’s likely that Conan Doyle based Watson off himself, while Sherlock Holmes is believed to be inspired by a professor Doyle had while attending medical school (Dr. Joseph Bell).

9. Sherlock Holmes never directly said “Elementary, my dear Watson,” though he does say both “elementary” and “my dear Watson” at separate times throughout the Sherlock stories.

10. Not only is John Watson a trained doctor and surgeon, he’s also skilled in and knowledgeable about firearms.


Facts sourced from Baker Street Wiki, Man of la Blog, Owlcation, SIR ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE ENCYCLOPEDIA, AND the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle official website