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Seaman and war hero

Published on Friday, March 27, 2009 Email To Friend    Print Version

By the Seafarers Association

The sea that made him a man, gave him a living, took his war medals and eventually took his life. Captain Roy Lewis Scott was born in West End, Cayman Brac on 29 September 1908. Like most Caymanians of that era his working life started at sea. At age 14 Captain Scott started working as a deck hand with the Kirkconnell sailing ships.

From there he went to Jamaica where he worked on several ships, eventually on a vessel which sailed to New York and other US ports. Later he got a job with United Fruit Company which sailed from the Caribbean to England carrying bananas.

Captain Scott was in England when World War II was declared. He was a member of the Merchant Seaman’s Union in that country. He then joined Webster’s Shipping Company. At this time he worked his way up to Chief Officer on a ship that carried cargo to various ports in Jamaica. He later transferred to the Company ships during which time he gained his Chief Officer’s licence. In 1942 he gained his master’s licence and travelled as Captain on a vessel to Canada.

This was at the height of WW II and traffic was so bad in the Pacific Ocean that his ship was held up for weeks in a South American port before he was granted permission to sail. The vessels sailed in convoys escorted by British ships. Many ships went down on these voyages. On a trip from England to Jamaica his vessel was shelled and torpedoed and missed being destroyed by only a few feet. His ship was fitted with guns and manned by British gunners.

Captain Scott was in New Orleans when Veteran’s Day was declared.

When he returned to Jamaica he was honoured with medals from the King.

Mrs Scott remembers how proud her late husband was of these medals. Unfortunately he lost them when a ship he was on sank but he and his crew were saved. He died at sea on board the MV New Providence in 1974. His body was sent back to the land of his birth for burial and his casket was carried by fellow Master Mariners from the Brac. The Cayman Islands Government honoured him by draping his casket with the Union Jack.

This article is part of a series of monthly features produced by the Cayman Islands Seafarers Association and printed in Cayman Net News.

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