John Edwin Scott, L/Corporal 15/1070, 1st Leeds Pals
Arthur Scott, Corporal 15/791, 1st Leeds Pals
William Scott, Drummer 42782, Scottish Rifles
John Edwin Scott was born in Leeds at the end of 1891. He was the second of seven children born to John Barnard Scott and Frances Ann Thackray, who had married in Leeds three year earlier. His brother Arthur was born two years later, and William four years after that. Between those two was a sister, Edith Sarah, and they were followed by Lilian Frances and Selwyn. The first born was the eldest brother, Harry Barnard. All seven had been born in Leeds, as was their mother. John the father, however, had been born in Eastney, Hampshire, and began work as a fishmonger’s clerk. By the 1911 Census he had become a branch manager to a fish, game and poultry dealer. He lived initially in Sheepscar, first in Renfield Terrace, then Evelyn Street, but ended, at the time of John Edwin’s death, in Elford Grove, Harehills. They were still in Harehills in 1939, in Arlington Road, though John was now a widower, having retired as a cashier in the fish trade. He was living with Lilian, still single, and Edith, who had married Harold Broughton. (Find my Past)
On the 1911 census John Edwin is given as a school stationer’s assistant. Arthur is a boot-dealer’s assistant, and William is still at school. Three years later, when war broke out, John was 22, Arthur 20, and William just 16. But it was Arthur who was the first to volunteer. He signed up for the Leeds Pals on 4th September 1914, exactly one month after the declaration, and had his medical ten days later. He was 5ft 6ins tall and weighed 10st. Six months after that he was a lance-corporal, and by the end of 1915 a full corporal. He was posted to D Company, and earned a very good reputation as an intelligent, smart and willing soldier, who served at the front with satisfaction. Sadly it was there that he was wounded, in the left shoulder and arm, in May 1916. Most of the records say gun-shot wound, but one mentions a shell, and he was operated on twice to remove shrapnel, and subsequently an amount of bone, which left him with restricted movement in his arm. It was then discovered that he had ‘a patch of consolidation on his right lung’, which ultimately led to a diagnosis of Phthisis in both lungs. He was sent back to Britain for more treatment, but it was finally decided that he was now physically unfit for further service, and in July of 1917 he was given a medical discharge. He was awarded the 1915 Star, the British War Medal, the Victory Medal, and a pension. In 1919 he was placed on the Reserve List, but it seems unlikely that he could have been recalled to duty. What happened after that is unclear, but there is a record of an Arthur Scott dying in Leeds in 1919, age 25. (Ancestry & Find my Past)
John was the next to volunteer, at Colsterdale in early 1915. Most of his records are missing apart from his medal card, but he went with Arthur and the rest of the Pals to Egypt in December 1915, then back to France at the beginning of March 1916 to prepare for the Big Push. John was now a Lance-Corporal in D Company. On 1st July he went over the top with the battalion, and didn’t come back. He was listed as Killed in Action and is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial. (CWGC) He was awarded the 1915 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. (Ancestry)
William joined up at the end of November 1915, when he was just 17, though he gave his age as 18yrs 8mths. He was posted to the Reserve, 3rd Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment and from there he went to the Scottish Rifles. By the end of 1917 he was in the Royal Scots. He spent the war on field service at home, and his trade was given as ‘big drummer’. Unlike his older brother he seems to have got into a certain amount of trouble, being punished for burning his uniform in September 1918 and having to pay for the damage. He was still listed as Scottish Rifles on his medal card, and was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal, implying that he must at some point have gone overseas. (Find My Past)
I have found no service record for Harry, though he may have served too. On the 1911 Census Edith is given as a machine hand, and in 1939 Lilian was also in the garment trade, so it is possible both were involved in war work. I have found no record for Selwyn either, and perhaps he was just too young.
Researcher: Peter Taylor
- All opinions and inferences are the researcher’s own.
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