Saturday, April 18, 2015

An inspiration to his platoon: Stephen Scott, M.M.

1. Road sign entering Distington village from the south
[Distington is the home village of Stephen Scott M.M.]
2. Headstone of Guardsman Stephen Scott M.M.
Arezzo War Cemetery, Italy (Grave Ref. I.B.27)
[Photograph courtesy of Damien Wright]
3. Distington village and parish war memorial, Cumbria
Stephen Scott M.M. is listed on this on this memorial
[The flowers at the front take the form '1914 -1918'
4. The M.M. citation for Guardsman Stephen Scott
[From the National Archives file WO 373 / 4]
5. Stephen Scott's photograph in 'The Whitehaven News'
[Thursday 2 March 1944 (Cumbria Archives Office)]
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For additional information click on 'Comments' below.
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7 Comments:

Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

Additional information

Guardsman Stephen Scott, M.M.

Guardsman Stephen Scott M.M. (1913 – 1944) came from Distington, Cumberland (now Cumbria) During WW2 Guardsman Scott served with the Grenadier Guards. Following an enquiry via this website by a Grenadier Guards researcher (Damien Wright) for information and any photographs about Guardsman Scott an article was posted to the website (see link below).

The village and parish of Distington is in the county of Cumbria (previously Cumberland) approximately midway between the coastal towns of Workington and Whitehaven. Photograph No. 1 (above) shows the modern-day entrance sign to Distington village alongside the road from Whitehaven.

During the Italian campaign of 1943 / 1944 Guardsman Scott was awarded the Military Medal (Gazetted 24 February 1944). A few months later he was to lose his life (12 July 1944) and is buried in Arezzo War Cemetery, Italy (Grave No. I.B.27) [Photograph No. 2]. A short distance along the road from Whitehaven into Distington is the parish war memorial, commemorating the locals who lost their lives during the two World War [Photograph No. 3]. Guardsman Stephen Scott is one of the WW2 casualties listed on this memorial.

Stephen Scott was the son of Stephen Scott (Snr) and Sarah Frances Scott (nee Woosnam). His parents had married in 1901 and the family lived at Bankside, Distington. Before enlisting to the Armed Forces Stephen Scott worked for Mr. T. Meageen at Homewood (Holmewood), Cockermouth, about eight miles (approximately 13 kilometres) from Distington. Cockermouth is perhaps best known as being the birthplace of William Wordsworth (1770 – 1850). Wordsworth was the Poet Laureate between 1843 and 1850. His best known poem is perhaps “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” (alternatively known as “The Daffodils”).
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Saturday, 18 April, 2015  
Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

Award of the Military Medal for action in Italy

Grenadier Guardsman Stephen Scott took part in the Allied invasion of mainland Italy in September 1943 as part of the 201st Guards Brigade (56th Division, No. 10 Corps). It was not long afterwards, on 26 September 1943, that the action for which Guardsman Scott was awarded the Military Medal took place. It was announced in the Supplement to the London Gazette of 24 February 1944 (page 938).

The handwritten recommendation for the Military Medal (M.M.) has since been made available at the National Archives (file WO 373 / 4) [Photograph No. 4]. Below is a summary of the recommendation:

“Recommendation passed forward
201 Guards Brigade / 56 Division / 10 Corps
Unit: 6th Grenadier Guards
Regimental No: 2621363
Rank and Name: Guardsman SCOTT, Stephen
Granted an immediate: M.M. (Military Medal)
Signed: H.R. Alexander, General
General Officer Commanding-in-Chief
15 Army Group

Awarded: M.M.
L.G. 24.2.44”
……………

“Action for which commended:
TABORRA 26 September (1943)

During an attack NORTHWARDS on PT 270 this Guardsman showed himself to be a soldier of outstanding courage and initiative. Finding his platoon was held up by a Spandau post, and without any orders, he worked his Bren gun forward single handed under heavy automatic and mortar fire to a position from where he could engage the post in question. By this means he wiped out 2 Spandau posts and rejoined his Section which were then able to continue the advance.

His total disregard of danger was an inspiration to the rest of his platoon.”

Recommended by: Lt.-Col. Commanding,
6th Grenadier Guards

Signed: R.L. McCreery,
Lieut.-Gen.
Commander, 10 Corps

Signed: G.W.R. Templar,
Major General,
Commander,
56th (London) Division
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Saturday, 18 April, 2015  
Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

A West Cumbrian ‘Local Hero’

The main local weekly newspaper covering the West Cumbrian village of Distington is ‘The Whitehaven News’. After the official announcement in the ‘London Gazette’ (24 February 1944) that Guardsman Scott had been awarded the Military the ‘Whitehaven News’ office received a telegram confirming the details. A reporter was despatched to speak to Guardsman Scott’s parents and an article subsequently appeared in the ‘News’ (transcribed below).

“MILTARY MEDAL
For Distington Guardsman

The first official intimation Mr and Mrs Stephen Scott, Bankside, Distington, received that their son, Guardsman Stephen Scott, Grenadier Guards, had been awarded the Military Medal was from a ‘News’ reporter. An official telegram received at the ‘News’ Office stated that the award had been made for gallantry and distinguished service in Italy.

When our reporter called at Bankside he was told that Guardsman Scott had intimated in a letter that an award would probably be made but the family preferred to say nothing about it until an official announcement was made.

In a recent action Guardsman Scott and his corporal were both wounded. The corporal’s wounds were very serious and Guardsman Scott had to operate the gun alone. He stayed by the gun throughout the night, then in spite of his own wounds, crawled for assistance. Unfortunately the corporal died but Guardsman Scott, after treatment in hospital, re-joined his unit some weeks later.

Aged 30 years and single, Guardsman Scott was formerly in the employ or Mr T. Meageen, Homewood, Cockermouth.

It was revealed on Sunday that the Grenadiers had been in Italy since December and after distinguishing themselves by a gallant stand on Hill 819 at Minturno were transferred to the Anzio beachhead. There on an all-important road they broke up three vast tidal waves of Kesselring’s onslaughts with Tiger tanks, flame-throwers and hordes of infantry were supported by a terrific artillery barrage. Often there was bitter hand to hand fighting, but the Guards gave very little ground and in the end, when the Germans retreated to their own lines, the Grenadiers had the satisfaction of knowing that for every one of their casualties the enemy had suffered at least four.”
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Saturday, 18 April, 2015  
Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

Commonwealth War Graves citation

A few weeks later, on 12 July 1944 Guardsman Scott was killed in the area close to Arezzo during a stiff defence by the Germans. The town of Arezzo finally fell to the Allies on 16 July 1944.

Below is the Commonwealth War Graves Commission citation for Guardsman Stephen Scott, M.M. from Distington, Cumberland (now Cumbria), which states he was serving with the 5th Battalion Grenadier Guards at the time:

Guardsman Stephen Scott, M.M. (citation)
Name: SCOTT, STEPHEN
Rank: Guardsman
Service No: 2621363
Date of Death: 12/07/1944
Age: 30
Regiment/Service: Grenadier Guards, 5th Bn.
Awards: M. M.
Grave Reference: I. B. 27.
Cemetery: AREZZO WAR CEMETERY, Italy
Additional Information:
Son of Stephen and Sarah Frances Scott, of Distington, Cumberland (U.K.)
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Letters from Italy

In 2014 letters written by Guardsman Stephen Scott in Italy came to light following the passing of his wartime girlfriend and penfriend Joan at the age of 93. By this time Joan was living in Melbourn, S.W. Cambridgeshire. After the war Joan married and had a family but had kept Guardsman Scott’s letters among her personal effects.

These letters, newspaper cuttings and some wartime photographs were found by Joan’s daughters, Liz and Eva, after their mother’s death. In one of the letters is a pressed poppy, picked from the Italian battlefield, reminiscent of those found on the battlefields of the Western Front in the 1914 – 1918 war. This is what Stephen Scott wrote about the poppy in his letter to Joan:

“This poppy, one of thousands about this scene of past bloody battles is well and truly symbolical. Poppies have grown where there have been scenes of heavy bloodshed.”

Also included in the letter is half of a pressed beech leaf. The other half was retained by Stephen Scott and he looked forward to the day when the two halves of the leaf would be reunited. Sadly, with Stephen Scott being killed shortly afterwards, that day would never arrive.
In April 2015 Joan’s two daughters contacted the “News and Star” newspaper (the local evening newspaper for Cumbria) and BBC Radio Cumbria seeking further information about Stephen Scott and hopefully to make contact with some of his relatives. As a tribute to their mother, Eva and Liz decided they would like to plant a trail of wild flowers across their mother’s home village of Melbourn. Additionally, if possible they would also like to plant some wild flowers in the Distington area as a tribute to Stephen Scott.
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Saturday, 18 April, 2015  
Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

Dedication

“The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.”
G.K. Chesterton (1874 – 1936)
[‘Illustrated London News’, 14 January 1911]

To read an article about Distington War Memorial with photographs of the list of names, click on the following link:
They went out and returned not
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Acknowledgements

The National Archives, Kew
(File WO 373 / 4)

‘News & Star’ (Cumberland Newspapers Group)

‘The Whitehaven News’

BBC Radio Cumbria

Mr Damien Wright

Mrs Liz Williams and Mrs Eva Cox
(daughters of the late Mrs Joan Credland)
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Saturday, 18 April, 2015  
Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

(Update 22 April 2015)

Relatives of Guardsman Stephen Scott MM heard about the search for relatives after hearing about it on BBC local radio (BBC Radio Cumbria). They have now made contact with Joan's daughters Liz and Eva and swapped their respective family stories.

This happy ending to what is a poignant story was featured on BBC Radio Cumbria on Wednesday 22 April 2015.
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Wednesday, 22 April, 2015  
Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

Photograph No. 5 is a copy of the photograph of Guardsman Stephen Scott, M.M. which appeared in 'The Whitehaven News' on Thursday 2 March 1944. It was obtained at the Cumbria Archives and Local Studies Centre, Whitehaven.
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Sunday, 17 May, 2015  

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