|Date of Birth||August 22, 1895|
|Place of Birth||Keewatin, Ontario|
|Next of Kin||James Scott (father), Sunset, Saskatchewan|
|Trade / Calling||Farmer|
|Service Record||Link to Service Record|
|Force||Canadian Expeditionary Force|
|Enlisted / Conscripted||Enlisted|
|Place of Enlistment||Regina, Saskatchewan|
|Address at Enlistment||Chamberlain, Saskatchewan|
|Date of Enlistment||December 6, 1915|
|Age at Enlistment||20|
|Theatre of Service||Europe|
|Prisoner of War||No|
Sergeant William George Scott enlisted in December 1915, at age 20, and served overseas for three years. He returned to Canada in April 1919.
William was born on 22 August 1895 in Keewatin, Ontario. His father, James Scott, was from Forfarshire, Scotland and his mother, Margaret Downs, was born in Whitechurch, Ontario. James and Margaret were married in Keewatin in 1892 and they had four children: John Thomas (1893), William George, Esther (1897) and Joseph Turner Elliott (born November 1900, died May 1901). All the children were born in Keewatin and Joseph is buried in Lake of the Woods Cemetery in the neighbouring town of Kenora. When the 1901 census was taken James was working as a teamster for a local sawmill. Around 1906 he went to Saskatchewan and filed a homestead claim near the town of Chamberlain. He spent the winter back in Keewatin and moved his family to Chamberlain the following spring.
Margaret died sometime after the 1911 census was taken and by 1915 James was remarried. His second wife, Mrs. Jean Dowgray (née Gray), was from Scotland. She was a widow who had moved to Chamberlain after spending a few years in the U.S. She had four sons, all born in Scotland: Joseph, John, Robert and Andy (who married James’ daughter Esther Scott). William George Scott, his brother John Thomas Scott, John Dowgray and Joseph Dowgray all served during the First World War. Robert Dowgray also enlisted but he was discharged after one month due to being underage and undersize. He was 17 at the time and he died a year later, at age 18. He’s buried in Chamberlain Cemetery.
John Scott was the first one in the family to enlist, signing up in February 1915. William enlisted in Regina on 5 December 1915, joining the 68th Battalion. The unit was mobilized at Regina and recruited in the surrounding area. The troops trained over the winter and headed to the east coast in the spring, embarking from Halifax on the SS Olympic on 28 April 1916 and landing in Liverpool about nine days later. Shortly after arriving William became ill with influenza and he was in Moore Barracks Hospital from 10 May to 11 June. At the end of June he was drafted to a front line unit, the 5th Battalion, and sent to France. After some time at the base depot he joined them in the field on 1 August.
Tha fall the Canadians took part in the Somme Offensive, where they suffered 24,000 casualties in less than three months. Afterwards they moved north to the Arras area and in November William spent nine days at the Canadian Corps School. In April 1917 the Canadians captured Vimy Ridge and William was appointed Lance Corporal on 9 April, the first day of the battle. In August he was promoted to Sergeant and given ten days leave in Paris. He was in the hospital for almost three months between September and December, getting treatment for vd, and he rejoined his battalion just before Christmas. They spent the winter and spring in the Arras area and in March William was out of action for awhile after spraining his ankle at a battalion baseball game.
During the summer of 1918 the Canadians had several weeks of intensive training in open warfare. The final period of the war, known now as the Hundred Days Offensive, started on 8 August with the Battle of Amiens. William suffered a shell or gunshot wound to his left hand early in the operation and he was admitted to No. 1 Australian General Hospital on 10 August. After recovering at two other hospitals in France he rejoined his unit on 19 September. In October he had 14 days leave in the UK and he was back with his battalion for the last weeks of the war. Following the Armistice the 5th Battalion spent another four months in Belgium and France as well as in Germany, as part of the occupying forces. William returned to England in mid-March 1919 and embarked for Canada on 10 April on the SS Carmania, arriving in Halifax nine days later. He was discharged on demobilization on 24 April in Regina. His brother and two stepbrothers also survived the war.
Almost nothing is known of William’s life after the war. In his service file his last recorded address was the village of Snowflake in Manitoba. His date of death and place of burial have not yet been found. His sister Esther (Mrs. Andy Dowgray) died in 1920 and she’s buried in Chamberlain Cemetery. His brother John passed away in 1954, at age 60, and he’s buried in Findlater Cemetery in Findlater, Saskatchewan.
By Becky Johnson
Information on the Scott and Dowgray families is from the local history book ‘Chamberlain Crossroads: A Trip Back in Time’ (University of Calgary, 1980).