Penrith POW Percy Scott

Penrith POW Percy Scott

Postby kerchi » Thu Jan 01, 2009 12:21 pm

Cumberland and Westmorland Herald, 30th November 1918

Penrith POW Percy Scott

One of the first repatriated prisoners from Penrith to reach home is Pte Percy Scott, oldest son of Mr and Mrs William Scott, Ingleside, Penrith, who arrived home on Tuesday night and received a warm welcome from his family and friends. Private Scott joined the Westmorland and Cumberland Yeomanry in 1914 when only 16 years of age and acted as regimental bugler, later passing into the band while stationed at Cupar. On reaching military age he passed into the Border Regiment and was sent to France. He was taken prisoner on 27th May this year (1918), at the time he was doing R.A.M.C work. He was captured while helping a wounded Corporal whom he refused to leave.Private Scott is a modest and unassuming young man and not given to exaggeration and his story of how the Germans treated their prisoners has thus  added value. Private Scott was captured by a German machine gun squad while helping his patient through the French village of [?Rucy] in the Soissons district and was at once stripped of his watch, knife, haversack and dressing case. He was then marched to a receiving cage behind the enemy lines, he and other prisoners were kept there a week and were compelled to assist in putting down a light railway.These prisoners behind the lines were the worst treated for they were beyond the kindly reaches of the prisoner of war committees; they were disgracfully fed and had to work under the constant risks of our own artillery fire. As soon as the rails were laid the British guns blew them to smithereens and the work had all to be begun again. During the week that Pte Scott was there he received one meal of flour and water on his first day, and this had to be drunk out of his steel helmet.  For the next two days he got nothing but the next day the flour and water ration was repeated.After the week had elapsed Pte Scott was sent to Lappion to work in a German hospital as a stretcher bearer, the hospital was a church and the wounded - German, French and British were brought there in trucks. The doctors there were fairly decent but they were handicapped by the lack of surgical appliances, anaesthetics and bandages, these latter and the towels were made of paper and when saturated were of little use. After a week there he was moved on toHirson, where the prisoners were kept in a fort and were fed on a soup made of what looked like cods roe; at Hirson he received his first bread since his capture, one loaf divided among six prisoners this allotment had to last a day. It was made of potato flour and coarse maize.Soon after they were taken to Darmstadt, travelling for thirty hours in cattle trucks on one day's ration of bread and no soup. Here they were inoculated four times and vaccinated once an outbreak of dysentry through weakness caused by want of proper food put half the men on the sick list, they were then provided with a proper passenger train to continue the journey to Munster where he stayed six weeks and shared in the parcels which the old prisoners were receiving. At Munster the Germans took the boots from the prisoners and gave them wooden clogs to wear.From here Pte Scott was sent to a mining camp at Sterkrade where he worked until his release in the coal pits there, the prisoners being mixed with German miners who had seen service at the front and had been invalided.  They had to work in eight hour shifts, but on Fridays and Tuesdays the shifts were increased to twelve hours to make up for Sundays rest. They were allowed a daily ration of bread and two bowls of soup made mostly of cabbage and potatoes and were paid one paper mark (10d) a day, this was not currency outside the camp canteen and as the canteen only sold hardware such as tin cups the mark was largley a mark of servitude. Occasionally the Germans used threats to the prisoners and a coal spade would be held aloft but the men defended themselves with their miners lamps and the threats ended in nothing more than idle boasts. The prisoners slept in barracks which Pte Scott says were a palace compared with some prisoners quarters. Conditions in the outside world must have been very bad by this time because the German miners who were mostly socialists complained bitterly of the food and worked according to the ration " not much food, not much coal " was their muttered code of morals.The German women working in the mine were scantily attired for with paper stockings at 25 marks a pair and shoes at famine prices they had to go without, some of the women wore a flat wooden sandal simply made of a flat piece of wood strapped to the foot. One of the German miners, who was more humane than the other had worked as a chef in London and had two sons fighting in the British army.When the revolution broke out in Germany, the prisoners had been aware for some time what was brewing and were not surprised on that fateful Saturday morning when the civilian populationarrested the soldiers and stripped their cap badges and epaulettes from their uniforms in some cases smashing their rifles in two pieces, then the civil guard wearing white armbands, mounted machine guns and informed the prisoners that if they did not keep order they would be shot. The sentries took themselves off and the prison gates were left open on the morning of the armistice, the 70 British and 80 French prisoners were marched to Friedrichsfeld, 35 kilometers by road, thence to Wesel, where they entrained for Zevenaar in Holland, had a triumphal march through Rotterdamand so home to " Blighty ".

Source: Cumberland and Westmorland Newspaper Transcriptions
In memory of John Bardgett (15309 L/Cpl.), 11th Border Regiment who died 1st July 1916.

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Re: Penrith POW Percy Scott

Postby Steve » Tue May 05, 2009 3:35 pm

Cumberland & Westmorland Herald, Saturday July 6th 1918

Private Percy Scott, Penrith.

We record with much regret, the fact that, Mr. and Mrs W. Scott, Ingleside, Penrith, received an official notification on Wednesday that their eldest son, Private Percy Scott, Border Regiment, had been reported missing after the engagement on the 27th May.Private Scott, who is an "old boy" of the Penrith Grammar School, joined.the Army in October, 1914, at the early age of 16, he was one of the first of that patriotic group of Penrith's sons to volunteer for service. He joined the. Westmorland and Cumberland Yeomanry as a bugler and as he could not be sent overseas until he was 19, he went with his regiment to Cupar in Scotland, and was incorporated in the fine band the officers got together when stationed there. He later served in England and as soon as he came of age he was drafted out to France and attached to the Border Regiment.He was reported missing after the big push on Rheims in May.  Private Scott, who is a exceedingly fine young man with an engaging personality, was very popular with everyone.  His parents would be grateful for any information as to his fate from any other member of his regiment.His younger brother Second LT Harold Scott, has just been gazetted to a commission in the Royal Field Artillery, and expects to leave for France shortly.

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Re: Penrith POW Percy Scott

Postby CockneyTone » Tue May 26, 2009 11:08 pm

Chris & Steve,really interesting account and post script, thanks for sharing it.Regards and best wishes,
Scottie.
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