Watton was born to Pauline Tilston, a young unmarried hairdresser, in Chester, England. She placed him for adoption when he was three months old and he was adopted in 1960 by the Watton family.
He joined the British army and rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel in the Royal Military Police, serving in the Falklands War, Northern Ireland and Kosovo, and was awarded the MBE and OBE for his service.
In 1999 he became head of the RMP service in Scotland and the north of England
2001 he discovered that his birth mother was now married to John Prescott, deputy prime minister of the UK (Prescott is not his birth father), and has two other sons. He and the Prescotts are now happily reunited, in spite of the fact that Watton votes for the Conservative party and Prescott is a prominent Labour politician. The relationship was not made public until mid-2003.