Private Herbert Stanley Scott, 201987, 2nd/5th Battalion, Manchester Regiment
Herbert Stanley Scott was born at Marsh House, Ossett on December 14th 1897, the son of Lucy Agnes (née Sykes) and farmer Thomas Scott who married in Prestwich, Manchester in late 1896. Neither of them were from Ossett; Thomas was Scottish whilst Lucy was born in Heckmondwike in 1861, the daughter of William Sykes, a solicitor and brewer. In 1891, Lucy was living on her own means and living with brother Herbert Augustus Sykes, a brewer in Heckmondwike. It is likely that Herbert Scott was named after his uncle. Lucy SCott died in the Wigan area in 1903 with a stated age of 35 years. However she was actually 44 years of age and had been less than truthful to the census enumerators after she married Thomas Scott.
In the 1901 census, the Scott family are recorded as living in Lancashire, but Herbert's place of birth is recorded as Ossett. Why Lucy Scott gave birth to Herbert, their first born, in Ossett is a mystery. Lucy and Thomas had four more children who were all born in Lancashire: Thomas Saville in 1899; Frederick Dixon in 1900 and twins Frank Leslie and Lucy Gwendoline in 1903. Lucy Scott died soon after giving birth to her twins and some of the children were separated.
Herbert appears on the next census in 1911 and once again his place of birth is clearly recorded as Ossett. By this time Herbert and his brother Thomas and their sister Lucy were all living with John and Ann Richardson at Haydock Lodge where John worked. This was a private lunatic asylum and was also where Thomas Scott, the children's father worked. He was the head attendant in charge of several patients.
Herbert Stanley Scott served as Private 201987 in the 2/5th Battalion of the Manchester Regiment. His service record doesn't appear to have survived, but his medal index card reveals that he was awarded the British and Victory Medals but not the 1914/15 cross, meaning he didn't serve overseas until after December 31st 1915. His pension record states that he was a part of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF). At its peak, on August 1st 1917, the BEF in France and Belgium numbered 2,044,627 officers and soldiers.
The Manchester Regiment (TF) was formed at Wigan in September 1914 as a second line unit. In November 1914 they were placed under command of 199th (Manchester) Brigade in the 66th (2nd East Lancashire) Division. They trained at Southport until May 1915 then went on to Sussex. In March 1916 they moved to Colchester and between February 25th and March 16th 1917, all units embarked for France and active service on the Western Front. They fought in the Operations on the Flanders Coast in 1917 and this is where Private Herbert Scott lost his life.
Above: A German trench mortar team in action on the Flanders Coast in July 1917.
In June 1917, the 66th Division was transferred to the XV Corps of the Fourth Army on the relatively quiet coastal sector in Flanders. During the summer, XV Corps was held ready for Operation Hush, an amphibious landing by the 1st Division and a coastal offensive by the rest of XV Corps, which was planned to support an advance from Passchendaele Ridge east of Ypres, by the Fifth Army. The operation was postponed several times and was cancelled in October.
Private Herbert Stanley Scott was killed in action on July 22nd 1917, during the lead up to the cancelled Operation Hush on the Flanders Coast. His division had joined the operation at the end of June. News of his son's death reached Haydock Lodge where Thomas Scott still lived and worked. Herbert was buried in Coxyde Military Cemetery I. J. 61., Belgium.
None of the Scott family ever returned to Ossett, yet it's quite clear that Private Herbert Stanley Scott was born in Ossett. It's quite easy to understand why he wasn't named on any Ossett Roll of Honour and subsequently wasn't one of the names unveiled at Ossett's Central War Memorial in 2018.
Thanks to Anne-Marie Fawcett for her detailed research and discovery of Herbert Stanley Scott as being born in Ossett.
Now we know of him, his name should be added to the Ossett War Memorial.