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Percy Moreton SCOTT (1853-1924)

Known As
Sir Percy Scott
Biographical Details

Sir Percy Moreton Scott, 1st Baronet (1853-1924) was a British Royal Navy officer and a pioneer in modern naval gunnery. During his career he proved to be an engineer and problem solver of some considerable foresight, ingenuity and tenacity.

Scott was educated at Eastman's Royal Naval Academy, Southsea, and entered the navy as a cadet in 1866.  Scott retired from the Navy in 1913.

When the First World War broke out, at the request of Field-Marshal Earl Roberts, Scott provided proposals for the use of 6-inch naval guns mounted for mobile use on land as long range artillery. Neither the War Office nor Admiralty appreciated the value of such long range weapons and it was not until mid-1915, when under pressure on the Western Front from long range German guns, they urgently called Scott to put the proposals into effect.

In November 1914 Scott was called into the Admiralty by Winston Churchill and Lord Fisher, returned once more as First Sea Lord, to be told he was to be employed as an advisor in connection with the gunnery efficiency of the fleet.

In September 1915, following a Zeppelin raid on London, Arthur Balfour ordered Scott to establish the London Air Defence Area, to defend London from the increasing threat of air attack. Little thought had been given to the possibility of air attack and anti-air measures had been given no priority. Scott's first priority was to devise a high-explosive shell, easy to manufacture and with a suitable fuse. With the help of the Navy's Anti-Aircraft department this was quickly achieved but then came the problem of getting the proposals through the Admiralty's administrative process and into production. To avoid this Scott took the plans to France where he directly commissioned a car manufacturer, which started production quickly and efficiently.  Scott worked tirelessly to get guns from the Navy and Army for conversion into anti-aircraft guns. In February 1916 responsibility for the air defence of London was transferred from the Admiralty to the War Office. It was agreed that Scott's association with the Corps should end and he took a position as adviser to Field-Marshal John French on air defence questions.

For the rest of the war Scott continued to suggest improvements on a wide range of subjects.

Sir Percy Scott died of a heart attack on 18th October 1924, aged 71.

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