Robert Scott was the son of a police officer who came to Chelmsford after his father was posted there in 1914. Before coming to the town he worked on board Titanic’s sister-ship Olympic, and also worked as a clerk, and latterly at Hoffmann’s bearings factory in Chelmsford. He joined the army early in the war and was killed in action near Delville Wood in the latter stages of the Battle of the Somme. His family home was in Arbour Lane.
Private, 1st Battalion, Grenadier Guards
Robert’s battalion participated in the Battle of the Somme. On 17th September 1916 the battalion was in Carnoy. Three days later it went to trenches west of Lesboeufs, then, on 21st September 1916 moved to Trones Wood. On 24th September 1916 it was in assembly trenches ready for the following day’s attack to capture Lesboeufs. The 25th September 1916 also saw Robert killed in action.
Today he lies in Delville Wood Cemetery, Longueval, Somme in France (grave: II. N. 5). The cemetery was made after the Armistice, when graves were brought in from a few small cemeteries and isolated sites, and from the battlefields.
On 17th November 1916 the Essex Weekly News reported:
“Pte. Robert Scott, Grenadier Guards, youngest son of P.c. F. G. Scott, Chelmsford, was wounded on Sept. 25, and on Saturday his parents received an intimation that he is missing. He was formerly employed at the Hoffmann Works, and joined the Army at the beginning of the war.”
On 31st August 1917 the Essex County Chronicle reported:
“Pt. Robert Scott. Grenadier Guards, son of P.c. Scott, of Chelmsford, reported wounded and missing on Sept. 25, 1916, is now notified by the War Office as presumed to have died on that day or since. Robert Scott was formerly employed on the White Star liner Olympic and at Hoffmann’s Chelmsford.”
The same day’s Essex Weekly News reported:
“Pte. Robert Scott, Grenadier Guards, son of P.c. Scott, Chelmsford, who was reported wounded and missing on Sept. 25, 1916, has now been notified as presumed to have died that date or since. Pte. Scott was formerly employed on the White Star liner Olympic and at Hoffmann’s Works.”
Robert is commemorated on the Civic Centre Memorial, Chelmsford and on the Springfield Parish Memorial at All Saints’ Church. He was entitled to the 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, and Victory Medal.
The 1918 register of electors showed Robert’s parents living in police accommodation at 2 Old Court, Arbour Lane, Springfield (pictured). His father left Essex County Constabulary on a pension of £165/2/4 per annum on 22nd January 1921 having completed almost 32 years’ service as a constable. His last seven years of service had been in Chelmsford. His parents subsequently resided at 17 and 34 Rosebery Road, Chelmsford. They celebrated 60 years married in 1948. Robert’s mother died in 1950, aged 85.
Robert was born in Belchamp Walter around 1894, the youngest son of Frederick George Scott and Charlotte Scott. His father had been born in Paddington, London on 9th August 1865; his mother in Holborn, London c1865. The couple had married on 13th February 1888, probably in London.
A year later Robert’s father had given up his job as a footman for Lord Rayleigh at Terling and joined the Essex County Constabulary as a police officer. After initial training his father was posted to Harwich (in April 1889) and then to Dovercourt (in October 1891). Robert’s elder brother, Charles James Scott, was born in Harwich in 1891. Robert’s father was posted to Belchamp Walter in September 1893, around which time a second son was born there - William George Scott. A third sibling died in infancy.
Robert remained at Belchamp Walter until May 1898 when his father was posted to Earl’s Colne. The 1901 census recorded Robert, aged seven, living with his parents and two elder brothers at High Street, Earl’s Colne. In November 1909 Robert’s father was transferred to Takeley where he remained until being posted to Chelmsford in June 1914.
In 1911 the census found Robert lodging with the Cuthbert family at 28 Back Lane in Earl’s Colne. Robert was a clerk at a general engineer’s.
Robert found work at Hoffmann’s ball-bearings factory in Chelmsford, where his brothers had both been working in 1911. He also worked on Titanic’s sister-ship Olympic (launched in October 1910).
He enlisted into the army at Chelmsford, probably in January 1915. He served in the 1st Battalion of the Grenadier Guards, a unit of the regular army which was based at Warley at the outbreak of the war, He landed in France, as Private 22449, on 27th October 1915, by which time his battalion was attached to the 3rd Guards Brigade in the Guards Division.