b. 04/06/1874 Haslingden, Lancashire. d. 21/02/1961 Downpatrick, Northern Ireland.
Robert Scott (1874-1961) was born on 4th June 1874 at Charles Lane, Haslingden, Lancashire. He was one of the five sons — there were also three daughters — of Mr. James Scott, of Haslingden, cotton operative. As a boy he attended Haslingden Parish Church day school, and for two or three years before joining the army he attended the New Jerusalem Sunday School. A first a weaver there, he had been in the warehouse at Flash Mill four or five years in 1895 when he joined the 1st Manchester Regiment, in which course he had been preceded by his elder brother James, who rose to Major and in 1919 received the O.B.E.
Shortly after enlisting in the Manchester Regiment, he was sent to South Africa for the outbreak of the Second Boer War. His regiment found themselves involved in the relief of Ladysmith and it was at Caesar’s Camp in Natal where his gallantry would be recognised for the Victoria Cross.
During the attack on Caesar’s Camp, in Natal, on the 6th January, 1900, Private Robert Scott and Private James Pitts occupied a sangar, on the left of which all our men had been shot down and their positions occupied by Boers, and held their post for fifteen hours without food or water, all the time under an extremely heavy fire, keeping up their fire and a smart look-out though the Boers occupied some sangars on their immediate left rear.
When the roll call was called after the enemy had been beaten back, fourteen were found to have been killed. The two survivors were Scott, who was shot through the ear, and Pitts, who was unscathed. Both men were recommended for, and gazetted for the Victoria Cross on 26th July 1901. He received his medal alongside Pitts at Pretoria, South Africa on 8th June 1902 from the Commander in Chief, South Africa, Lord Kitchener. In October, 1902, he came home to Haslingden, and was received by the Mayor (Mr. G.A. Smith), Town Council, Volunteers, Ambulance Corps, bands of music and crowds of people. He married Miss Alice Grimshaw of Haslingden, and they went on to have two daughters.
He had also received the he Queen’s and King’s medal with many clasps, including almost the first and the last Elandslaagte and Belfast. He retired from the Army on his return, held for a time a good position with the Westinghouse people at Trafford Park; rejoined his regiment in December, 1904, and became acting schoolmaster. During the Great War, he was an Orderly Sergeant at Ashton Barracks, Greater Manchester.
He left the service in 1923 and went to live in County Down, Ireland, where he joined the Royal Irish Constabulary. He served with the Royal Air Force during the Second World War, and was awarded the DSM in 1949. He then worked in the civil service until retirement, which saw he and his wife move to Kilkeel, County Down. He died at Downpatrick, County Down, on 22nd February 1961 and is buried in Christchurch Cemetary, Kilkeel, County Down. His medals were donated to and are displayed at the Manchester Regiment Museum, Ashton under Lyne.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: MANCHESTER REGIMENT MUSEUM, ASHTON UNDER LYNE.
BURIAL PLACE: CHRIST CHURCH CEMETERY, KILKEEL, NORTHERN IRELAND.
Manchester Regiment Museum – Images of the Robert Scott VC Medal Group and VC Medal reverse.