John Bruce Scott
Rank: Driver
Number: 142126
Unit: 36th Division Signal Company Royal Engineers
Date of Death: 28 September 1918
Age: 20
Cemetery: Tyne Cot Memorial, Zonnebeke, Belgium

It's possible that the Scott family had not been living in the Stockport area for too long when War was declared in 1914. Although army records published after the War show that John was living in Heaton Chapel when he enlisted, he travelled to Ormskirk to enlist, possibly with friends from the area. The family originated from Wirral and John had been born in Bebbington. The 1901 Census finds the family living at 5 Brick Road in Higher Bebbington. John, then 3, was the eldest of the three children of Bruce and Annie. Bruce was a clerk with a shipping firm which, no doubt, traded at the docks in the Liverpool area.

John was probably conscripted into the army around the middle of 1916 when he became 18 and was assigned to the Engineers. Each Division of the Army had a Signals Company, comprising approximately 160 men. They relied heavily on horse drawn transport and John was one of nearly 50 drivers with the Company. Many of his comrades would have been more directly concerned with maintaining and operating the telephone service by which the Divisional HQ kept in touch with its subordinate units. Other men would have acted as bicycle or motorcycle despatch riders.

The British Army had been on the attack since early August 1918. Although there would be heavy fighting until the Armistice in November, there would be no more defeats and steady advances were made against a still determined enemy. The phase of operation which commenced on 28 September would later be officially designated as the "Final Advance to Victory".

In late September, the Division was away from the battle area for a few days rest but by the 28th, the men were in reserve positions near the town of Poperinghe. Its orders were to wait and be prepared to move forward to exploit any gains made by the attacking Divisions. Orders to move arrived at 11am and the infantry started to go forward, being carried by light railway. By early afternoon, the infantry battalions were taking up positions east of Ypres and Divisional HQ had been established in the town's ramparts. It is not known what happened to John but he will have also moved forward, driving his horse-drawn wagon towards the front line area. He will have been bringing the equipment forward which possibly included the rolls of telephone wire which his comrades would then quickly lay to establish communications for the forthcoming attack. John was probably killed by shellfire. His body was never recovered and identified and his name is commemorated on the Memorial to the missing at Zonnebeke.

After the War, Mr & Mrs Scott were living at 70 Tatton Road South, Heaton Moor.

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