Second Lieutenant, Royal Garrison Artillery

Born: January 1st 1897
Died: October 27th 1918

Age at Death: 21

Accidentally killed, October 27th 1918

Son of D.M. Scobie of Hove. Brother to John A.N. M. Scobie (Ha. 1909-1912).

A donation to the memorial statue has been made in honour of this soldier by the Tiplady Family.

Obituary, Brightonian XVI December, 1918
Lieutenant Keith Macdonald Scobie was the younger and only surviving son of Mr. D.M. Scobie, late Indian P.W.D., his brother having been killed near Givenchy, in 1916. He was first educated at Wadham House, Preparatory School, and entered the College in September, 1910, taking a scholarship.  At the College his quiet and unassuming demeanour and charm of character gained him a general popularity; he took a keen interest in the corporate life of the school,  becoming  leading member of the Debating Society. His tastes were strongly literary, modern literature especially appealing to him, and his abilities in this direction promised great things in the future. He always retained a deep interest in the welfare of his old school, hardly a term passing without his presenting books to the College library. He passed into Woolwich in September, 1915, taking a high position in the list of entrants, and subsequently passed out first in to the R.G.A. in 1916. He served in France for nine months during the first Somme battles, and being wounded at Bullecourt he was sent home in April, 1917. After his recovery, he exchanged into the Air Service in April, 1918, and had just completed his pilot's course for the R.A.F. when he met with an accident that caused his instantaneous death. His C.O. writing to his father pays him the following tribute:- "Your late son was probably the most popular officers who had been at the station for some considerable time, and by his death we all feel that we have lost a very good friend as well as a very promising pilot."  As illustrative of his modesty of character we hear that his C.O. in the R.G.A. wished to recommend him for the Military Cross for conspicuous gallantry on several occasions, but Lieutenant Scobie declined the honour on the grounds that he had done nothing worthy of special notice. 

Keith Macdonald Scobie
Keith Scobie was the younger brother of John Scobie[1] but unlike his brother was born in Scotland, United Kingdom rather than India, although the family returned to India shortly afterwards and continued to live there until the death of his mother Joan in 1900. Thereafter he returned with his father and eldest brother to live in Hove, where itappears that some of Scobie’s extended family settled as well, and attended first Wadham House Preparatory School and then, from 1910, Brighton College. The school’s obituary notice in 1918 suggests that at school Keith Scobie was quite intellectual and literary, he was apparently a leading light in the debating society and was an enthusiast for ‘modern literature’.  He was also, unsurprisingly, a private in the OTC, although unlike officers does not appear to have been promoted within the OTC, despite a relatively lengthy period of service.

After leaving the school Keith Scobie appears to have spent a year preparing for the army entrance examination, which he passed in September 1915 (being placed in 35th) and entered the RMA, Woolwich. This was a relatively unusual route into the army during wartime but it appears that he took the decision to train to be a specialist officer in a technical branch of the army rather than commissioning into an infantry regiment after a relatively period of training like most of his peers. He was commissioned into the RGA in May 1916 and saw action with the 140th Siege Battery during the battle of the Somme, in which his elder brother was killed, during the remainder of 1916. On 2nd April 1917, while on secondment to the ANZACs, he was injured by a high explosive shell at Bapaume, following which he was invalided back to Britain and sent to Somerville Hospital in Oxford.

It appears that although the initial wound was superficial he was afflicted with other health problems and did not return even to light duties until October 1917, when he was posted as an instructor to the Aldershot Siege School and attached to 458th Siege Battery which was in training there. During the intervening period, when Scobie was invalided, his commanding officer attempted to recommend him for a number of gallantry awards but Scobie himself declined these on the basis that ‘he had done nothing worthy of special notice’.  In April 1918, following the creation of the RAF, Scobie volunteered for pilot training at the 43rd Training Station, Chattis Hill, Hampshire. It was there that, having received his pilot’s license and only two weeks from the end of the war, he was killed in a flying accident. He is buried at the military cemetery at Andover, Hampshire.

After his death, in accordance with his wishes, Scobie’s father had printed an anthology of poems entitled A Sheaf of Poems ‘for private circulation and presentation to a few of his friends’. A copy of this collection, complete with a dedication to Keith Scobie by his father, is deposited at the British Library.
[1] See entry for Lieutenant John Angus Scobie above.

Source: LEST WE FORGET PROJECT, Brighton College 2014/15

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