Laurence Scott’s parents, John and Emily, lived in Skipton, Yorkshire, where John Scott owned and managed a brewery. Laurence Scott was the third of four children, born on 21 December 1895 after Mary and John and before Dorothy Scott. In 1901 at the time of the census, 12-year-old John was a pupil / boarder at Dene C. of E. School in Caterham, Surrey. By the time of the 1911 census Laurence was being educated away from home; he is listed as a student / boarder at Denstone College, Staffordshire. John Scott had retired from business in the early years of the century and the family had by 1911 moved to Ilkley, West Yorkshire.
Laurence Scott’s surviving military records are sparse but it would appear that he volunteered very early in the war, joining the Duke of Wellington’s (West Riding) Regiment. He was assigned to A company of the 9th (Service) Battalion and his medal card shows that he disembarked in Boulogne on 15 July 1915. The 9th Battalion then came under the command of the 52nd Brigade in the 17th (Northern) Division. This division remained on the Western Front from 1915 to the Armistice; and in 1915 were deployed in the front lines in the southern area of the Ypres Salient. A number of battalions from the Duke of Wellington’s (West Riding) Regiment are reported near Elverdinghe during the Second Ypres campaign of 1915. From July to November 1915, they were billeted slightly behind the front line at Canal Bank, which was a series of dug-outs sufficient for an entire Company on the banks of the Ypres Canal. These dug-outs were not particularly liked by the men as they were damp and often dirty.
Laurence Scott was wounded on 24 November 1915 and admitted to the 51st Field Ambulance. He was transferred back to this country the following day. This was the first of three injuries which all involved repatriation, two of which were severe enough to have qualified him for permanent home service. On each occasion, however, Scott chose to return to his Regiment. He was finally discharged from the Army as unfit in February 1919.
That same year, he joined University College at Durham where he was an Arts student, studying arithmetic, algebra, English history and logic, and with the intention to enter Holy Orders. His attendance is noted as good for both the Michaelmas and Epiphany terms. He was also a keen sportsman, representing the Durham University on the rugby field against Edinburgh University - this despite his war wounds.
During the Easter vacation whilst at home in Ilkley, he received disappointing news from a medical board which recommended that he stop studying at least for the rest of that year and get out into the open air as much as possible. The physical and psychological effects of his war service clearly still persisted, and regrettably overwhelmed him, for not long after this board made its decision Laurence Scott committed suicide.
"Dr Gibson had seen Mr Scott on 3rd April when he was suffering from depression. The witness thought the state of the young man’s mind was entirely due to the wounds he had received in the head, accentuated by the hard studies. One could quite realise that being under shell fire, and suffering such severe wounds, must have given a tremendous shock to the nervous and mental system. He had evidently been working very hard for his examinations, and the whole thing had told on him. The Coroner said he would certify in accordance with the medical evidence."
Yorkshire Post, 9 April 1920
Twenty-three First World War graves are situated in Ilkley Cemetery including those of Laurence Scott and three other members of the Duke of Wellington’s (West Riding) Regiment. His service is also remembered on the Ilkley Roll of Honour; on Panel 4 of the Ilkley St Margaret’s parish church memorial calvary cross, and on a brass memorial plaque in the Bishop Tunstall chapel, University College, Durham. Denstone College, Staffordshire, commemorates pupils lost in both world wars at the annual College Remembrance Service and on a number of memorials within the grounds.