CWG: Lieutenant Basil Scott-Holmes

Lieutenant Basil Scott-Holmes

Basil Scott-Holmes was born on 2nd February 1884 in the Somerset village of Wookey. The oldest of two children, his father was Liverpool-born Thomas Scott-Holmes and his wife, Katherine. When Basil was born, Thomas was the vicar of St Matthew’s Church, Wookey, but by 1901, he had risen to the role of clergyman – and subsequently Chancellor – at Wells Cathedral.

Basil’s pedigree stood him in good stead. Initially educated in Llandaff, South Wales, he subsequently attended Sherborne School in Dorset. Sent up to Cambridge, he studied history at Sidney Sussex College.

After leaving university, Basil spent time in Europe learning German and French. He was then assigned the role of Assistant Commissioner in North Nigeria but, after a year there he was invalided home taking up a teaching role at the Bristol Grammar School in 1912.

In July 1913, Basil married Barbara Willey, a surgeon’s daughter from Reigate, Surrey. The marriage record shows that Basil was registrar for an architectural association by this point; the couple went on to have two children, daughters Annette and Prudence.

When the war broke out, he was obviously keen to do his bit. In September 1914 he enlisted in the Royal Army Service Corps, before gaining a commission in the King’s Royal Rifle Corps a couple of months later. In the spring of 1916, Lieutenant Scott-Holmes had been seconded to the Machine Gun Corps, although it is unclear whether he served abroad during any of his time in the army.

On the evening of 24th October 1916, Lieutenant Scott-Holmes was riding in a motorcycle sidecar through central London, on the way back to camp. A local newspaper picked up the story:

…they stopped when going through Wandsworth to re-light the near light, and in the dark a motor omnibus ran into them, and Lieutenant [Scott-Holmes], who was strapped in the side-car, was, with the car, flung across the road. He died as he was being taken to Wandsworth Hospital. At the subsequent inquest, a verdict of “accidental death” was returned.

Central Somerset Gazette: Friday 3rd November 1916

Basil Scott-Holmes was just 32 years old. His body was brought back to Somerset; he was laid to rest in the cemetery at Wells Cathedral.

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Basil Scott-Holmes

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