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Welwyn in World War I

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Charles Comyn Scott-Gatty



An obituary, giving much detail of his life, was published on the

29th of July 1916 -



DEATH OF MAJOR SCOTT-GATTY


OFFICER, ACTOR AND AUTHOR


We sincerely regret to record the death of Major Charles Scott-Gatty, son of

Sir Alfred Scott-Gatty, KCVO, Garter Principal King-of-Arms, of Wendover Lodge, Welwyn,

which occurred at 8, Cromwell Crescent SW on Monday. The deceased, who was 35 years of age,

was chiefly known in Hertfordshire as an officer of the Hertfordshire Regiment and as an amateur actor and author. He inherited his father’s musical ability, for, as our readers know Sir Alfred is the author of many well known songs. Major Scott-Gatty first came into prominence in Hertfordshire when he was residing at Codicote and joined the Hertfordshire Regiment, taking command of the Welwyn Company, which he raised to a high state of efficiency. He was very popular with his men, whom he frequently used to entertain and take to the theatres in London. Later, when the Territorial Force Act came into operation, he took command of the Watford Company, and regularly attended dills there, making himself as popular with his men as he had previously done at Welwyn. When war broke out he came to Hertford as Adjutant of the 2nd Battalion, and did a very great deal of valuable work in raising the Battalion to a state of efficiency. When the Battalion went to Stowlangtoft he did excellent work there,and as a result of his arduous labours, his health showed signs of failing. Subsequently he completely broke down, but after a time he recovered and returned to Hertford and acted as Adjutant to the 3rd Battalion, going with it to Windsor. There he worked so enthusiastically and hard that he had a further breakdown and as a result was discharged from the Army with a pension.


Major Scott-Gatty was prominently identified with the series of amateur theatrical held annually at Hertford at Christmas time for some years prior to the war. He first appeared at the Corn Exchange in the pantomime ‘Ali Baba’ in which his humorous assumption of the character of Mrs Baba materially helped the success of the piece. The following years he took upon himself the cares of actor, author, composer, manager and producer combined and his productions ‘Cinderella and Private Smith’, ‘The Military Girl’, and ‘Claude Alread’ were performed, one after another with remarkable success. ‘The Military Girl’ in fact proved so successful after a week’s run that it was produced a second time the following Christmas. In the writing of the plays Major Scott-Gatty was assisted by his clever and versatile wife, but the whole of the music was composed by himself. The plays were staged in a style hitherto quite unequally at Hertford and drew crowded audiences from the whole of the county and even London. On one occasion a special matinee was held in the course of the work’s run in order to allow leading members of the theatrical profession in London to attend and a special train bought down quite a galaxy of talented artistes, including Sir George Edwardes, who enjoyed the performance immensely. Major Scott-Gatty  always took the leading part and his songs and sallies kept the large audiences in continual merriment. A very large number of performers were engaged on the plays and they all retain vivid recollections of the Major’s wonderful powers of organisation, which resulted in the work of everyone from the call boy to the leading actor or actress always going with a smoothness not often seen in amateur theatricals. His genial personality both on and off endeared him to everyone with whom he came in contact. The whole of his theatrical work was undertaken for the purpose of raising funds for the Hertfordshire Regiment and in this way he obtained very considerable sums which served a most useful purpose in furthering the efficiency of the Regiment. He also did a great deal for the London hospitals by reproducing in the Metropolis some of the plays he staged at Hertford and in recognition of his praiseworthy efforts, the King conferred upon him the honour of being an Esquire of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem, an order specially reserved for people who do great service for the hospitals.


Major Scott-Gatty was educated at Rugby and in the early part of his career was apprenticed to

Vickers, Son and Maxim being a relative of a member of that great firm. After doing good work there he became a member of a very prosperous firm on the Stock Exchange but like many other business concerns it was hit hard by the war. Nevertheless he took his financial reverse stoically and came back to Hertfordshire and did his best in raising the county Regiment to a state of efficiency. He married

Miss Gathorne-Hardy, daughter of Colonel and Lady Cecily Gathorne-Hardy and cousin of the late Adjutant of the Hertfordshire Regiment, The Hon. N. Gathorne-Hardy, who survives him with one daughter.


MILITARY FUNERAL


The funeral took place at Welwyn on Thursday, the deceased being accorded full military honours. The 3rd Battalion of the Hertfordshire Regt., who are at camp in Halton Park, near Tring were unable to send a firing party and Major A H Pulman DSO, Commandant of the NCO’s School of Instruction at Hertford, kindly came to the rescue and bought two officers, Lieut. and Adjutant C J Blackburn-Maze and

 Lieut. W H Martin and a firing party of 50 men and also a bugler. The Hertfordshire Regt. supplied the bearers and a bugler. Colonel H Baker, Major C F Puller, and Capt. A. Crossman of the 3rd Battalion came over from Halton Park  and Lieut.-Colonel H J Gripper and Capt. M. McMullen from headquarters at Hertford. Among other officers present was Lieut. Lionel Faulder-Phillips. The principal mourners were the widow Mrs. Scott-Gatty, Sir Alfred and Lady Scott-Gatty and a number of other relatives and friends. A large number of Welwyn residents were present and a few from Hertford including Mr R Braund,

Mr E H Oram, the deceased co-adjutor in the plays above referred to and a few of the chorus girls. The body was bought down from London by motor hearse, the coffin being enshrouded in a Union Jack and the deceased officer’s cap and sword were placed on the lid, together with a beautiful bunch of lilies.

The first part of the burial service was held at the Parish Church, being conducted by the Rector, the Rev. P M Wathen. The hymns, most impressively rendered were ‘Thine for ever’,’On the Resurrection morning’ and ‘It is not death but sleep’. At the close the organist played ‘O rest in the Lord’, The internment afterwards took place in Welwyn Cemetery in the presence of a large congregation, the three volleys and ‘The Last Post’ being most effectively performed, the firing party being under the direction of

Sergt. Major Wombwell. By request there were to be no flowers but a few floral tributes including those from the Savage Club, the Hertfordshire Regiment, the NCO’s School of Instruction and  

Mrs Charles Leslie. Members of the Hertfordshire Motor Volunteers and other friends kindly motored some of the party over from Hertford.



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