Basil George Watson was born on October 12, 1893 in Bendigo, Victoria, and spent his childhood in the suburbs of Melbourne, Brighton. Watson was first introduced to aviation by Harry Hawker in early 1914 on an Australian tour of the famous aviator, who was five years older than Watson. In May 1914, Watson went to England with hawker, where he attended pilot training and worked as an engineer and test pilot with the sopwith aviation company and later the imperial army. He was seriously injured in an accident after a engine failure during a test flight in June 1915 and returned to Australia 12 months later after being declared medically unfit to continue his military service. He then built his own biplane based on the design of the sopwith pup, completing the project in just over 3 months in the second half of 1916.