The tragic story of Harold "Harry" Scott 1908-1935

Yeovil player manager, Jack Gregory raised a few eye-brows in the Summer of 1924, when he announced he had signed a sixteen year old boy from Devon who had just left school. Even by this time, the 'boy' had played Southern League football with Torquay United scoring eight goals in fifteen games for the South Devon side. However being a forward himself with a fine pedigree, Gregory knew a good player when he saw one.

Harold 'Harry' Scott was born in Kingsteignton in 1908, son to Mr and Mrs John Scott. The family had already experience great pain, their second eldest son Frank giving his life for his country and died in France when Harry was just ten years of age.

Attending Newton Abbott Secondary school, he excelled as a pupil, with a natural gift for the sciences and mathematics. However, it was his footballing talent that was attracting more attention. He had already been an English schoolboy International before being invited to play for Torquay United by Welsh Manager Crad Evans, making his Torquay United debut in 1924.

Scott, played against the Glovers on the 23rd February 1924 at Huish. A game Yeovil winning 3-2. The Western Gazette commenting "the barely sixteen year old lad, Scott for Torquay being the best forward on the pitch"

He had obviously impressed Yeovil's Jack Gregory who he was up against that day. It's hard to say why Harold chose to leave Torquay and come to Yeovil in the summer of 1924. However, one expects parental pressure had a bearing on it. Jack was given a job as a trainee draughtsman at Petters Engineering , something his parents would have readily agreed with. A career outside of the game as well as in it.

As for the Glovers signing such a young lad, there was method in Gregory's madness. Johnny Hayward was approaching the end of his long career as a Yeovil player, now well past five hundred goals for his home town club. It couldn't last much longer though. Yeovil needed to look for a replacement for when the great man hung up his boots. As someone to learn their craft from, no player could be better for young Harold to be educated by than the Yeovil hero Hayward.

Harry Scott made his debut on the 30th August 1924 in a home match against Exeter City Reserves. His reputation obviously reaching St James Park before hand, as special attention by the Exeter defence to crowd him out at every opportunity was reported. Alas, helping Yeovil to a 1-0 victory.

Young Harry was soon away with the goals though, two weeks later, he notched up a hat-trick, in only his second match, against Llanelly, who returned back to Wales on the back of a 7-1 defeat and one would guess  stories of how a sixteen year old boy had taken them apart!

It wasn't long before sixteen year old Harry was at it again for Yeovil and Petters United. His FA Cup debut was against Westbury United at home in the preliminary round. In a match played in a torrential downfall, young Harry had a field day scoring six in a 9-1 victory. Johnny Hayward, more than twice Harry's age, must have looked on with a wry smile on his face, he had only scored three!

Although, in a match away at Bath, Harry left all his kit on the train when it changed at Westbury,  resulting in a quick shopping trip around Bath before the match to find him new ones. 

Jack Gregory, rightly or wrongly decided to protect Harry, from playing against the hardened defenders of the Southern League and decided a few months in the Reserves to mould his craft would be in order. He sure didn't mind that, scoring hat tricks from Dorchester to Minehead in the Western and Dorset leagues. Jack Gregory recalling him later on in the season, to continue where he had left off. In his first season he had scored 15 goals from 34 matches, not bad for a sixteen year old.

Harry, as was mentioned before, had brains as well as natural footballing skill. Through his high performance in his school exams he had also achieved a scholarship at London University. Thankfully, the club and his work allowing him to travel to London a few times a week to continue his studies. Eventually leaving the university with a first class honours degree in science and mathematics. 

Harry started his second season at Huish for the 1925-26 season at the grand old age of seventeen. By the end of September he had scored eight goals from just the six appearances he had played, again making reserve appearances in between. Bath City, visited Yeovil on the 12th December 1925 for a Southern league (Western) match. Fully aware of Harry, as he had netted against them in his debut season. Again, Scott had a field day, by half time he had scored four as Yeovil went into the wooden changing rooms by the Queens End corner flag, 5-1 up!

The second half saw Harry score his fifth in a manner that can only be described as the 'brashness of youth'. After Hayward had shot and the keeper parried , it fell to Harry a yard from goal, a simple tap in. Yet, Harry put his foot on the ball and beckoned the City defenders back to tackle him. One took the bait, Harry waited until the defender was half a metre dragged it back from him and hammered it past the now horizontal defender into the net. The Yeovil crowd were said to be too astonished to celebrate.

Gregory still happy for Harry to have spells in the Reserves, to toughen him up more. Yet, when he played for either first or reserves goals would come naturally. By the end of the 1925-26 season. Harry was top scorer with 24 for the first team and second top  for the Reserves with 10. 

Harry had obviously enjoyed living in Yeovil, in the summer he joined the Yeovil tennis club and also made the appearances for the town cricket club where he was much loved and a valued member. He also, excelled in his work place, even at such a tender age seeing a promotion in his office at Petters Ltd. 

As per usual, Harry now coming of age and eighteen, started the 1926-27 season like a train on fire. Scoring ten before the end of September, although obviously disappointed to only get one goal in a 10-1 FA Cup win over Street. 

Through injury and needing time out for his University studies Harry was out from November to March of the season. He came back in his usual style, scoring four past Weymouth, which would have raised his hero status a little more. Two weeks later he netted two more against the 'enemy' at The Rec in a 6-1 win. 

Even after missing four months of the season he finished second highest scorer with 22 goals. Also scoring 13 for the reserves in the seven appearances he made for them that season. 

If people thought they'd seen the best of young Harold Scott, they were wrong. The 1927-28 season saw him step up a gear. From Novenber to the end of the season hardly a match went by when Harry, now maturing just past his nineteenth birthday, name didn't appear on the scoresheet. The highlights being six goals against Ebbw Vale, a hat-trick again against Weymouth, four goals against his old team mates at Torquay. Including eight times he scored two in a match. Ending the season as top scorer with 46 goals from just 37 matches. 

During the summer though, Harry started to have health problems, the nature of which is not recorded. Obviously of a serious nature. During the following season, Harry made just three first team appearance. His last being in a friendly on the 17th November 1928 against an RAF X1, scoring twice. It was to be his last appearance and goals for Yeovil and for any team. 

His mystery illness meaning he never pulled on a football shirt again. However, it seems Harry continued working for Petters and also took up a new role working as a night school teacher of mathematics and science at the Yeovil technical institute. 

He also found love with a Yeovil lass, Miss. A. Galpin a shop assistant at Gamis's stores in Middle Street, selling fine bone china. They happily announced their engagement. 

1934, Harry's condition worsened though, to such a level that he was unable to work in either capacities as a draughtsman at Petters or as a teacher at the institute. 

The circumstances sent Harry into a deep depression, without his beloved football, and his work. One also wonders if the strain of worrying about taking care of his future bride also playing on his mind. In early June 1935, at his home in Yeovil, Harry unable to cope at a time when mental illness was less well studied and treated, suffered a nervous breakdown. 

Immediately he was sent to his parents home in Kingsteignton to recuperate. The depression and mental anxiety was too much to bare, he died two weeks later, the cause of death being 'a nervous breakdown' although it is believed that Harry unable to continue took his own life. 

He was just twenty-seven years old. 

He left a heartbroken fiance, loving parents and one brother. 

Harry was buried in St Michael's churchyard in Kingsteignton, a simple grave that hides a young man with so much intellect and sporting prowess, who was for four years a football protige and a hero to Yeovil fans on the terraces and the log main stand at Huish. Floral tributes were sent from the Directors of Yeovil and Petters United, yet no one from the club attended his funeral. Such a sad ending to a 'boy' who had given so much to the club and to the town. 

Rest in peace, Harry. 

*for more stories from the history of Yeovil Town Football club, please check the archive 


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