Canon Scott’s Son Wounded in 1915

Friday, March 19, 1915

In Trenches, Rue Petillon

The Battalion War Diarist wrote for this day: “German aeroplane over our lines, first one we had seen. Too high for rifle fire to be effective.” [1]

The Battalion history notes: – “Enemy planes were destined to become familiar objects in the days that lay ahead, but this was the first the Royal Montrealers had seen.”  As the diary records, “Unfortunately, it flew too high for rifle fire to be effective.” [2]

THIS DAY IN RMR HISTORY: “That William B. Scott, son of Rev. Canon Scott, of Quebec, has not been as seriously wounded as first despatches indicated was made plain by a cable received yesterday by his brother, Mr. H. H. Scott, of Montreal.

The message, sent from No. 3 Stationary Hospital, Rouen, ran:  ‘Wounded in right eye. Doing well.  Leaving for England shortly.’

The first word of his brother’s injury was received by Mr. Scott on Tuesday from Rev. Canon Scott, who is at the front as chaplain of the 3rd Infantry Brigade, which includes the 14th Battalion (Royal Montreal Regiment), and the message from the victim himself indicates that Private Scott is not so seriously wounded as at first reported in cable despatches.

Upon the outbreak of the war Mr. Scott, who is in the legal firm of Lafleur, MacDougall, Macfarlane and Pope, endeavoured to obtain a commission in the first contingent, but not having previously acquired the necessary military qualifications, he was unable to do so, and enlisted as a private in the 12th Battalion and was promoted to lance-sergeant while at Salisbury Plains.

When the first contingent left England for the front, the 12th Battalion remained behind as reinforcements, and at Mr. Scott’s request he was transferred to the 14th Battalion (Royal Montreal Regiment), waiving his rank and joining again as a private.”   [3]

WILLIAM BRIDGES SCOTT: Wm. B. Scott was born April 7, 1888 at Drummondville, Quebec.  He was educated at Quebec High School, Bishops University (MA) and McGill University (BCL).  He was called to the Bar in 1912, and when war broke out he enlisted in August 1914 and served with the 14th Bn., The Royal Montreal Regiment overseas, being wounded in 1915.  After the First World War he resumed his law practice, and was named a King’s Counsel (KC) in 1928.  He was active in community affairs, serving as President of the Montreal School of Social Work, President of the Canadian Club, and an officer of the Canadian Bar Association.  In 1951 he was elected by acclamation as Batonnier of the Bar of Montreal.  He became Associate Chief Justice of the Quebec Superior Court in 1962 at which time it was remarked that it had been 61 years since a member of the Quebec Bar had been appointed to the post without having had previous judicial experience.   In 1961 he was appointed Chief Justice and retired from the post two years later upon attaining his seventy-fifth birthday.

During his distinguished career, he served as chairman of the board of governors of Bishops University, and was awarded an honorary degree of Doctor of Civil Law by Bishops in 1947, and an honorary degree of Doctor of Law by McGill in 1956.

A former alderman of the City of Westmount, he was interested in establishing parks and playing fields and was instrumental in the acquisition of King George V Park, between Cote St. Antoine Rd. and Westmount Ave., from the Murray estate.

Mr. Justice Scott, died Friday, May 5, 1967, and was survived by his wife, and two sons, both doctors, and two brothers, one of whom, Professor Frank Scott was formerly dean of McGill’s Faculty of Law.

Mr. Justice Scott was predeceased by a son Richard Aird Scott, killed in action in 1943 while serving with the Royal Canadian Air Force.   [4]

[1]    War Diary, 14th Canadian Battalion, The Royal Montreal Regiment, March 19, 1915.  Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa,
[2]    R.C. Featherstonhaugh, The Royal Montreal Regiment 14th Battalion C.E.F. 1914-1925, Montreal, The Gazette, Printing Co., Ltd., 1927, pg. 32.
[3]    Wound Not Dangerous,” The Gazette, Montreal, Quebec, Friday, March 19, 1915, pg. 4, col. 5.
[4]   “Former Chief Justice W.B. Scott Dies Here at 79,” The Gazette, Montreal, Quebec, Monday, May 8, 1967, pg. 43, col. 1.

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