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Scott, L.S.R., Pte., 1920
In Ilkley Cemetery, Yorkshire is the Commonwealth War Grave with a private headstone of 12904 Private Lawrence Sylvester Robinson Scott serving with the 2nd Battalion Duke of Wellington's (West Riding Regiment) who died 07/04/1920.

Edward Wild has submitted the following:-

Lawrence Scott enlisted into the ‘Ilkley Pals’ Company which had been formed in late August 1914 after a recruiting meeting held in the Kings Hall on Station Road. During his service he was wounded on three occasions, but his death almost 18 months after the war had ended, would shock the town.

Born in Skipton in 1894 Lawrence was one of four children of John Scott, a brewer, and his wife Emily. The family moved to Ilkley in 1911 and took a house on Sunset View off Leeds Road (now called Sunset Drive) before moving on the West View on Wells Road. He was sent to school as a boarder at Denstone College, Staffordshire before attending University College, Durham where he hoped, after his studies, to take Holy Orders.

The start of the war interrupted his studies as he enlisted, with many men from Ilkley, into the 9th Battalion West Riding Regiment. The ‘Pals’ began their training in Dorset and by July 1915 were sufficiently proficient to be sent to the Western Front. Given his education Lawrence was offered the opportunity to take a commission but he refused, stating that he preferred remain in the ranks.

In March 1916 the battalion was in the front line south of Ypres near to Hooge when Lawrence received the first of his wounds which was sufficiently severe to warrant his evacuation back to Britain. His recovery was slow and a the army medical services suggested that he could remain in the army but serve in at home in Britain, but Lawrence refused saying that it was his duty to return to the front. In the summer of 1917, after recuperation, he went back to France this time with the 1/6th Battalion of the West Ridings. It was during the Battle of Passchendaele that he was wounded a second time and again returned to Britain where he refused the offer of a discharge and chose to return to France. In January 1918 Lawrence once again returned to the front line for the final time. Wounded in February of that year, whilst serving near to Bethune, Lawrence was evacuated once again but this time was not given a choice and the army simply discharged him as medically unfit.

It is clear that the war had left Lawrence disabled but he took the opportunity of his discharge to return to Durham University. To compensate for the effects of his wounds he sought a medical pension which involved submitting to medical examination and a tribunal who would access his disability. The tribunals were notoriously parsimonious in awarding pensions and would routinely impose restrictions on an applicant’s lifestyle. On the 31st March 1920 Lawrence attended an army tribunal in Bradford who accepted that his disabilities were permanent, but that he could not have a pension unless he gave up his studies, suggesting, helpfully, that he needed to spend more time in the “open air”.

It was in the late afternoon, on the 7th April, just 7 days after the tribunal, that his younger brother, Christopher, went up to his Lawrence’s bedroom in the attic to call him for his tea. Upon receiving no reply, he entered the room and found Lawrence hanging from a skylight, quite dead.

In those days inquests were held very quickly and on the 9th April the local coroner heard evidence from the pension tribunal and Lawrence’s doctor. The doctor (Gibson) reported that his patient had been somewhat depressed by his disabilities and was worried about completing his studies, but that he was unaware of any suicidal tendencies. His brother Christopher said that his brother was deeply disappointed by the verdict of the pension tribunal and had become morose at the thought that he could not pursue his chosen career. The coroner in his judgement said that Lawrence was temporarily insane probably because of a head wound received during the war and released the body for burial.

The Rev. Glennie the vicar of St Margaret’s received Lawrence’s remains into a packed church filled with many men who had served in the ‘Ilkley Pals’. The priest recalled that Lawrence had served in the church before the war and described him as “simple, genuine and selfless.” and that his death was certainly because of his wounds.

At some stage after the war his parents placed a plaque in the chapel at University College, Durham which read ‘Nuper in bellis fractus nunc pro patria mortuus’ which translates as ‘Recently broken in war, now dead for his country’.

Today, Lawrence Scott lies in a family plot in Ilkley Cemetery and is remembered with pride on the war memorial at St Margaret’s church, Ilkley.

Lawrence Sylvester Robinson Scott is remembered at Durham on D47.113

The CWGC entry for Private Scott

If you know more about this person, please send the details to janet@newmp.org.uk