Boy Steward, Herbert Alfred Thomas Scott – Survived the War

Merchant Navy

Herbert Alfred Thomas Scott – Merchant Navy Identification © The National Archives

Synopsis of Life and Military Service

Herbert was born in Poplar, East London on 1 August 1901 and baptised the following month on 8 September. He attended Woolmere Street School from 22 August 1904, which was just around the corner from where he lived, in the heart of London’s docklands. He left the school on 26 May 1908. This may have been when his family moved further east, to Barking, Essex.

It appears that Herbert lied about his age and joined the Merchant Navy, and by November 1915 he was a boy steward on board the SS Lusitania, a collier vessel built in 1903. On 17 November the ship was steaming to Cadiz with a general cargo when it went to the assistance of a Hospital Ship, the SS Anglia.

The Anglia was returning to England, having left France with decks full of wounded. At about 1 nautical mile east of ‘Folkestone Gate’ (a designated set of defences) she struck a mine laid by the German submarine UC-5 that morning. She sank in 15 minutes with the loss of an estimated one hundred and twenty nine lives. Along with other vessels, the little Lusitania went to pick up survivors, launching two rescue boats. The boats had just returned to the Lusitania when it too hit a mine. Fortunately, no one was killed but the two boats had to now rescue the Lusitania’s crew. Herbert was, according to the Daily Sketch, the last to leave the ship. 

Herbert, along with other survivors, was taken to Horton War Hospital in Epsom, where he appears to have been something of a mascot to the wounded soldiers. He was provided with a military hospital suit, and was also ‘awarded’ a set of sergeant stripes by the injured men in his ward. He was keen to point out that he was not a cabin boy but rather ‘the mess room steward’, and when asked he’d say he’d lost ten bob, and his kit.

Herbert at Horton Hospital – note the cigarette in his left hand. © Daily Sketch 20 November 1915


By the time the war had ended, Herbert was rated as an Ordinary Seaman. The last ship that available records show Herbert served on was the Sultan Star, which he appears to have been discharged from in 1937. (The Sultan Star was subsequently torpedoed by a U-Boat in February 1940). In 1939 he was recorded as living with his parents, unmarried in Barking. Given his Merchant Navy background he may have continued to serve in WW2.

It appears Herbert stayed in the Barking area until he died. His death was registered in January 1964 and buried on 14 January 1964 in Chingford Mount Cemetery, Waltham Forest.


Herbert Alfred Thomas Scott was born on 1 August 1901 at Poplar, East London.

The following family members have been identified:

  • Father: Frank K. Scott, born 3 January 1867 at Mile End, London.
  • Mother: Louisa Scott, born 3 November 1870 at Poplar, London.
  • Brother: Frank H., born 3 January 1895 at Poplar, London.
  • Sister: Louisa, born c.19045 at Millwall.
  • Sister: Gladys, born c.1911 at Barking, Essex.


Herbert is known to have lived at the following addresses:

  • 1904: 4 Ashton Street, Poplar, Middlesex.
  • 1911: 25 Eldred Road, Barking, Essex.
  • 1939: 17 Digby Road, Barking, Essex.


As a Merchant seaman, Herbert should have qualified for the British War Medal and also the Mercantile Marine Medal. The latter is awarded to those who serve at sea for at least six months, and on at least one voyage through a danger zone.


As Herbert did not die during wartime service there are no memorials to him.

Links to Additional Information


  • England & Scotland, Select Cemetery Registers, 1800—2016.
  • 1911 Census for England and Wales.
  • Epsom and Ewell History Explorer (particular reference to Daily Sketch 20 November 1915).
  • Find My Past: Yorkshire Evening Post 20 November 1915.
  • Find My Past: British Merchant Seaman, 1918-1941.
  • 1939 Register.


  • Not attached to any ‘Groups’ at this time.

Contributors to Research:-

  • Trevor Torkington
%d bloggers like this: