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  • Christina Drummond

Lieutenant Walter Larmond Scott DSC, Royal Naval Reserve

Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 1917, Lieutenant Walter Larmond Scott DSC, the Royal Naval Reserve, drowned along with his entire crew when HMS Q.20 (The Bayard) sank after being accidentally run into by S.S. Tainui.

Lieutenant Scott had commissioned into the Royal Naval Reserve in 1912, and achieved the rank of Lieutenant in 1915. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for his actions in February of that year, as detailed by the Admiral Commanding the East Coast Minesweepers: “From the 19th to the 31st December sweeping operations were conducted with the object of clearing the minefield which had been laid by the enemy off Scarborough. At the beginning there was no indication of the position of the mines, although owing to losses of passing merchant ships it was known that a minefield had been laid. In order to ascertain how the mines lay it was necessary to work at all times of tide with a consequent large increase in the element of danger. The following officer is specially noticed for his services during the operations: Sub-Lieutenant W. L. Scott, R.N.R. went alongside the Trawler Garmo in a dinghy to rescue a man at considerable risk to himself and his boat, as the vessel was floating nearly vertical at the time, with only the forecastle above water. She turned completely over and sank a few minutes after he left her.”

Lieutenant Scott was also awarded a bar to his DSC, when off Newhaven on the 11th of March he sighted a submarine close on the port quarter. UC 66 (Oblt.z.S. Pustkuchen) opened fire on Q.20, and a few minutes later U 85 opened fire on the port beam. Q.20 then opened fire, the submarine returned fire immediately, and two men were wounded when a shell struck the ship. H.M.S. Forester arrived and cruised around while the badly damaged Q.20 returned to land. Eighteen days later Q.20 was sunk after being accidentally run into by S.S. Tainui during the night. All members of the crew were killed along with Lieutenant Scott: Telegraphist Percival Bailey; Deck Hand Alfred T. Cook; Able Seaman Herbert Hamblin; Able Seaman William Hinton; 2nd Hand Joseph H. Kelly; Deck Hand Harry Lockey; Seaman John J. Powe; Deck Hand Alexander Rankin; Signalman James B. Stewart; Deck Hand Sidney T. Swan; Deck Hand Alfred Taylor (aka Alfred Willows); Deck Hand Luke Tether; Able Seaman Hugh P. Turnbull; Assistant Engineer Henry Watson; and Deck Hand Percy J. Marjoram.

Because SS Tainui was a civilian vessel it was held responsible by the court of inquiry and claims for compensation were made. Lieutenant Scott’s family were awarded £102 6s 6d for his kit, which apart from clothing and expected items such as his watch, binoculars and a sextant, included a diamond ring, his Masonic apron and a silver-mounted walking stick.

Walter, from Harrogate, was 30 years old and married.

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