George Henry Scott
10th Bn., Canadian Army
who died in action
Thursday 22 April 1915. Age 26
THERE IS NO KNOWN PHOTOGRAPH OF
GEORGE HENRY SCOTT
The MemorialsGeorge has no known grave. His name appears on the Menin Gate Memorial plaques in Ypres. Ypres (now Ieper) is a town in the Province of West Flanders. The Memorial is situated at the eastern side of the town on the road to Menin (Menen) and Courtrai (Kortrijk). Each night at 8 pm the traffic is stopped at the Menin Gate while members of the local Fire Brigade sound the Last Post in the roadway under the Memorial's arches.
The Menin Gate Memorial
The Memorial Roll
The Royal Canadian Legion Memorial, Loverna, SaskatchewanGeorge Henry Scott was a pioneer in the community of Loverna, Saskatchewan. After World War I the town erected a memorial to the war dead.
The Commonwealth War Graves Registry
There is an on-line registry of commonwealth dead which contains information on George Henry Scott
|This portion of his
navy record gives his basic biographical and
physical information. He is given the service number
362476. His birth date is listed as 6 September
1886, whereas he was actually born on that day in
1888; he adjusted his age to gain employment while
under age. He is 5 ft 4 inches high with brown hair,
blue eyes and a fresh complexion. He has a scar on
|This portion of the
record lists the ships, dates and ratings that
George had during his assignments in the navy.
In the photograph at left HMS Exmouth is shown as she would have appeared in the Mediterranean with her awnings unfurled to provide shade on the after deck.
The Exmouth entered the fleet in 1903. After a refit in 1907 she recommissioned on 25 May 1907, the day that George joined her, to serve as Flagship, Vice Admiral, Atlantic Fleet. On 20 November 1908 she transferred to the Mediterranean Fleet to serve as flagship there, and underwent a refit at Malta in 1908-1909.
George was on the Exmouth almost continuously until the end of April in 1910.
The Grand Harbour c. 1890
A Recent Photograph of Castel Sant'Angelo
|Leo Costell, who was a boy in Malta in the period 1945 - 55, and who visits there frequently, recognized the scenes painted by George and forwarded the two photos above and the following comments: "[the] paintings of the luzzus certainly can be situated in Malta's Grand Harbour: as one looks out to sea, Fort St Elmo is to the left and Fort Ricasoli to the right. His viewpoint was off Fort Sant'Angelo, probably from a naval vessel moored close to Dockyad Creek, Vittoriosa."||The above is a view of Castel
Sant'Angelo with Fort Ricasoli to the left and
Dockyard Creek to the right.Castel Sant'Angelo is
visible in both of the paintings by George that are
|George appears in
the 1911 census on the second last line of this
listing. He is an officer's steward, 1st Class, 24
years of age born in Hampstead Heath, London.
[note that his actual age was 22, perpetuating his age adjustment at the time of enlisting].
The Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) was a separate
entity created by Canada's Minister of Militia in 1914 for
service to Britain in the First World War. Technically
distinct from the standing land forces in existence at the
time, soldiers were legally attested into the CEF in order
to serve overseas. Hughes, the minister of defense,
refused to mobilize the existing Militia units as units,
and instead numbered battalions were created into which a
combination of Permanent Force (regular) soldiers, Militia
(reservists) and civilian volunteers were combined.
George Henry appears to have initially enlisted in the
105th Regiment, the Saskatoon Fusiliers on about 12
August, 1914, as, according to the following pay record
that is in his file, he was being paid from that date.
This document also reflects that he was transferred to
the 11th Battalion pay list in the September time frame
prior to sailing to England on the SS Royal Edward on Oct
|This photograph shows
a kit inspection of the 11th Battalion at
Valcartier. Sadly, the Canadian Army personnel
records of this time do not include photographs of
soldiers. Was our George Henry in this group?
After a train trip across Canada the volunteers formally
joined the CEF in Valcartier, Quebec, just outside Quebec
City. George's attestation papers were completed on 26
September 1914. George's pay with the 11th Battalion started
on 22 September. He was paid the standard rate for a private
which was $1.00 per day plus $0.10 per day field allowance.
While in England the CEF received training and equipping for its coming role on the Western Front. At these early stages of the war the essentially static trench warfare that was to characterize the war was just coming into being. Techniques that were evolving at the front would only partially make their way back to the training curriculum in England and so much of the time was associated with marching, use of the rifle and other basic military skills.
All to soon the CEF was to proceed to the continent. As part of the process a number of battalions that were going were brought up to full strength by transfers from other battalions that were not going at that time. In this process George was transferred from the 11th battalion (Saskatchewan rifles) to the 10th battalion (Alberta rifles) on 2 February 1915. He had little time to fit into this new battalion.
The Google satellite photo
below shows some of the locations mentioned above. The
horizontal yellow line is five miles long. The thin yellow
line in the upper right is the France/Belgium border.
The diary for March is fairly
constant in the recording of working parties, time in
billets, being shelled both on the line and in billets and
a continual flow of casualties with one or two people
being killed or wounded each day. On March 10 the
battalion “stood to” all day because of the battle of
Neuve Chapelle. ("Standing to" meant that everyone was on
the line with rifles loaded prepared to deal with an
attack. Generally those in the line would stand to in the
first and last hours of the day when visibility was
limited yet good enough for an attacking force to see while having some protection from being observed.
On the first of April the
10th Battalion was moved to a rear area at Estaires, a
rest position. Until the 4th inclusive their daily routine
consisted of Musketry and physical training, trench
digging and practice in attack, and drill and route
marching. At 7:00 am on the 5th the battalion
left Estaires passed through and at 3:00 pm arrived at
Abele (note: misspelled Abelle in the diary) about 3 miles
south west of Poperinghe, on the edge of the Ypres
Salient. There is no entry in the diary for the 6th and
from the 7th through the 10th the the battalion engaged in
company drill, route marching and practicing battalion
attacks. They were inspected during this time by Lt. Gen.
Alderson and then on the 11th were inspected by
Field Marshal Sir H. Smith-Dorien. They continued their
training program through the 13th.
Then on 14 April the
battalion was loaded in 40 buses and was transported
to Valmertinghe when they marched to Wieltje (about
two miles north east of Ypres on the Ypres-St. Juliaan
road) in the Ypres Salient. Guides supplied by the
French then led them into positions in the trenches
and the battalion took over bout 1500 yards of trench
from French troops. By 4:30 am all rations and
ammunition had been delivered to the trenches.
The battalion stayed in the trenches near Wieltje until the evening of the 19th. During this period they expended much energy improving the sanitary and defensive condition of the trenches which were considered to be filthy with refuse and decaying bodies and to be almost indefensible for lack of depth and barbed wire protection. During these four days the battalion lost 2 men killed and 11 wounded.
On 20 February the
battalion was in the divisional reserve near Ypres.
This reserve was close enough to the lines to be
shelled occasionally. It stayed there through the 21st
and for most of the 22nd in a rest position. This
process of spending a few days in the trenches and
then rotating out to a rest position was the normal
sequence of events for line battalions. While in the
trenches there was little time for rest, meals were
generally (this early in the war) cold and it was a
time of considerable discomfort with little facility
for personal hygiene and rest. After a few days of
this troops would be exhausted and need a respite and
so would be rotated out of the line. Coming and going
was always a bit dangerous because troops were more in
the open and most of the access routes were well known
and vulnerable to enemy shelling. Such shelling
occurred if the enemy suspected rotation but also
occurred on a random basis in the hope of disrupting
rotation and re-supply activity.
In the late afternoon of
the 22nd, a bombardment was heard to the northeast. A
gas of a greenish gray colour was observed and a
strange odor noticed. This was the first use of the
Germans of gas to support an attack. The gas used was
|Gas attack. This may
be a photo of the attack on the French lines on 22
By 6:00 pm the battalion
was marching towards the trenches they had previously
occupied at Wieltje. Their return was impeded by "the
masses of French troops proceeding toward YPRES in great
disorder, there were also masses crossing the fields in a
South Westerly direction, many having thrown away anything
that could impede their progress." [from the war diary].
The French troops had broken under the impact of the gas
attack, leaving a large gap of about 8,000 in the lines.
The 10th battalion was amongst the troops being rushed
forward to plug the gap. With some consultation among
staff a counter attack was planned and the battalion was
arranged with "A" Company on the right, "C" Company on the
left forming the front two lines, and having been 30 yards
distance. "B" Company on the right and "D" Company on the
left forming the 3rd and 4th lines. They were supported by
the 16th Canadian Infantry Battalion.
At 11:48 the attack commenced
and " not a sound was audible down the long wavering lines
but the soft pad of feet and the knock of bayonet
scabbards against thighs. In C.17.a, a hedge was
unexpectedly encountered and the noise of breaking through
brought on a hail of bullets, rifle and machine gun fire."
[from the war diary] The trench was cleared by 11:55 and
the battalion pushed on into a wood. There followed
several hours of confused fighting with elements of the
10th and 16th battalions becoming intermixed and digging
in to try to hold positions gained.
By 6:30 on the morning of the
23rd "When the two battalions (10th & 16th) assembled
their men it was found that we had 5 Officers being: MAJOR
D.M. ORMOND, CAPT. C.J. ARTHUR, LIEUTS. W.N. KNOWLES, S.L.
GLANFIELD and W.R. CRITCHLEY the only one had been wounded
being CAPT. C.J. ARTHUR, who had a slight scratch on the
right cheek, this did not prevent him carrying on. There
were 188 Other Ranks that were left out of 816 of all
ranks" that had attacked with the 10th.
For the first time, in these
entries, we start to see specific details of deployments
and mention of the 4 separate companies in the battalion.
Unfortunately, at the time of writing, we do not know what
company George was in so we are not able to determine
where exactly he was in the disposition of troops.
The battle continued for
several more days engaged heavily with the enemy. About 26
April a casualty list was forwarded which included the
name of George Henry Scott. To date I have not been able
to locate this list.
A transcription of the war
diary with links to the original diary pages is available
on line. On the transcribed entry for 30 April there
is a list of those killed by day which includes "21523
SCOTT, GEORGE HENRY" However there is no link to the
original from which this list came.
The form reproduced above
indicated that a month later, on 21 May, George was
officially listed and missing and struck off strength. The
following year on June 16 his status was changed to
presumed dead with date of death 22 April 1915.
|A map showing the
battlefield at Ypres during the second battle of
Ypres and showing the ground won by the Germans. The
Canadian lines are shown before the battle. The 10th
Battalion would have been roughly in the area of the
name Gravenstafel on the map
||The dispositions of
the Canadian brigades in a sketch map prepared by
Lt. W. A. Lowery. He was injured in the battle, but
survived the war.
Plaque honouring Lt. Col. John McCrae
poem as it appeared in his handwriting
|The author standing
beside the McCrae memorial During the Boer War
McCrae was an artillery officer in what is now
called the 30th Field Regiment RCA(M). I was also an
officer in that regiment and wear the regimental
||The field on the bank
of the Yser Canal where McCrae purportedly composed
|Examples of the
medals that were awarded to George Henry Scott.
These are not his which are so far not located. (The
medals are not shown in correct mounting order)
The painting of two ships on the left is interesting.
It is of a small steam/sail conversion craft, the Clyde, Crimea?? which is leeward of the Anna Mathilda P.IC(?). The Clyde has someone standing in the foredeck with his hands in the air. There are three figures climbing into the rigging of the Anna Mathilda. Does this represent a famous race?
This is an interesting painting of a two or three masted ship running under full sail. Is there a story behind this painting?
|Note on homesteads:
During the period 1872 - 1918 the Dominion of Canada had in place a Dominion Lands Act for the granting of land on the prairies, to homesteaders, at no cost other than a $10 administration fee. A homesteader could apply for two adjacent quarters (a quarter was a quarter square mile, equal to 160 acres or 65 hectares). The homesteader was required to cultivate 40 acres and place a permanent dwelling on the property within 3 years. George's application was made under this act.
|This map shows part
of the Canadian prairies including the southern
areas of Alberta and Saskatchewan. Loverna, where
George homesteaded is almost on the Alberta-
Saskatchewan border and half-way between the two
major east-west highways in Canada. Kindersley
where George registered his homestead and where he
lived at least part of his time in Canada is close
by. Also shown is Saskatoon where he enlisted.
Waskatenau, 60 miles northeast of Edmonton is
where his second cousin Frank Scott homesteaded in
1909, but it is not know that there was ever any
communication between them in Canada. The straight
line distance from Loverna to Waskatenau is about
200 miles (325 kilometers).
|"My cousin Marjery
told me that she remembers her mother (Agnes)
getting a telegram and throwing herself on the bed
in floods of tears because she said her brother
had been killed in the war (the first World War).
" (31 July 2010)
"My Uncle Joe (real name George) was apparently killed in World War 1. I know nothing else. I do not even know if he was in the army or air force. He was born in 1879. . . .Some of the family thought he went off to Canada (or maybe America) with his father John Jr. It seems more likely that it was Canada because of the family link to that country." (1 August 2010)
"Uncle Joe was spoken about by Aunt Sally. I know that he painted pictures of sailing boats and I am pretty sure that he was in the navy. I assumed that would be the Royal Navy but that is because my father and Uncle Arch were both in the Royal Navy as opposed to the Merchant Navy." (2 August 2010)
"I forgot to say, Uncle Joe was born George in Hammersmith (Shepherd's Bush) London in 1889. " (2 Aug 2010)
"I am afraid I do not know much about Uncle Joe. He was mentioned, of course, but I always got the impression that he was in the navy. I am not even sure that he went to Canada/America. It is all hearsay from different members of the family. It is just that my cousin, Marjery, had said that he had been killed in the First World War. "