Robert Scotter: Blacksmith & War Hero

Robert was born on 25 April 1831 and at 5ft 7 in height, with grey eyes and brown hair, he first went to sea in 1852 as a Stoker on board H M S Fury, before joining the 93rd Sutherland Highlanders in around 1853/54.

The 93rd  made its  name through it’s actions during the Crimean War and indeed that was where Robert found himself when they were sent to Russia in 1854 under Colin Campbell’s Highland Brigade.

Perhaps more readily the words ‘The Thin Red Line’ may be recognised and when the battle of Balaklava began on 25 October 1854 Robert found himself as one of that band of men.  A family story states that he too witnessed the Charge of the Light Brigade.

Robert returned from the Crimea when the war ended and settled into the life of a Blacksmith in Portsea, Hampshire.   He married a young widow, Sarah Watkins (nee Passingham) on 20 March 1858 at St Mary in Portsea and a first son Robert Herbert was born the following year.  Another son William Henry was born in 1862 and he completed their family.

Robert, Sarah and their children were perhaps slightly more well to do than his siblings and by 1871 had moved north to Birkenhead, Wirral and later, certainly before the 1881 census ‘over the water’ to Anfield, Liverpool.  His sister Hannah and her family were already living in Liverpool and this may have been part of the attraction of moving.

1884 however brought the death of his wife Sarah.  Their son Robert Jnr, had trained as a Teacher and William Henry was studying at Theological College in Chester.  The two boys deserve posts of their own as they led quite diverse and interesting lives so I will return to them; both hitting the headlines for perhaps very diverse reasons.

There always seemed to be, once I had found out more about the Scotter family, clear contrasts and fortunes and Robert and his family are perhaps where that stark difference really began to make itself known.

He married again to another Sarah – Sarah Susan Cox – where she was living in Eton in Buckinghamshire in 1896 before they returned north to live initially in Winwick, near Warrington, Cheshire and then to Over in Cheshire.  Robert, now described as a Navy Pensioner and Sarah, a Housekeeper seemed to live with her employer for some time.

Robert died at Winsford, Cheshire in 1913, aged 81 and did not leave a will.  Sarah died in Brighton, Sussex in 1931.

A photograph is said to exist of Robert in his declining years of him, bearded and proudly  standing tall with a rifle propped at his side and sporting a velvet smoking jacket and cap; cigar in mouth.  Older members of the family remember it, but unfortunately no-one can find it!



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