logo image Tracing the identity & history of the Indian Subcontinent via family archives

55 – Six generations of a British Family in India, one of whom was a Photographer for Times of India.

(Left) My Great Great Grandparents Edwin Ebenezer Scott (1850-1931) & Emily Good Andre (1862-1946), Bangalore, 1915. (Right) My Great grandparents, Algernon Edwin Scott & Desiree Leferve with my Grandfather, Bert Scott as a two or three year old boy. Cannanore, Karnataka. 1919

Image and Text contributed by Jason Scott Tilley, Birmingham UK

These are two photographs from My Grandfather Bert Scott’s family photographic archive. The photograph on the left, of my Great Great Grandparents Edwin and Emily Scott was taken on Christmas day in 1925 at  3, Campbell road, Richmond Town, Bangalore, our family’s house which was one of the old British Bungalows and has sadly like many of the rest, been demolished. On the old ground now stands St Philomenas hospital, right in the very heart of Bangalore.

On the right, are my great grandparents Algernon Edwin Scott and Desiree Leferve with my Grandfather, Bert Scott as a two or three year old boy, the image was taken in 1919 in Cannanore, Karnataka. (now Kannur and in the state of Kerala)

My family came to India in 1798 when James Scott Savory joined the East India Company as a writer of the Records of state. He was the second assistant under the Collector of Krisnagearry (Krishnagiri). Edwin Ebenezer (left image) is his great great grandson. From the church death records at St. Marks Cathedral in Bangalore it states that Edwin Ebenezer was the Assistant commisioner of Salt in South India.

Bert Scott, (little boy on the right) was my Grandfather, and he was born in Bangalore in 1915. He went to Bishop Cottons school before he joined the Times of India in 1936 as a press photographer.

Son of Algernon Edwin Scott and Desiree Marie Louise Josephene Leferve, (she was the daughter of a French professor of English from Pondicherry). Algernon Scott (Bert’s father) worked for the ‘Salt and Abkeri’ before he joined the army and went to Mesopatamia region from 1916-1919. After Algernon Scott left Mesopotamia he then went to the North West Frontier province until 1921 when he was discharged as Lieutenant. In 1925 he joined Burmah Oil company until 1933 he worked at Caltex until the out break of War.

My Grandfather Bert Scott, whom I fondly call ‘Grandpa’, was mainly brought up by his Grandparents, this must have been because his parents were away much of the time. He was educated at the famous ‘Eaton of the East’, Bishop Cottons school in Bangalore and then at St. Joseph’s college in Cannanore on the way up to Ooty in the Nilgiri’s. In 1936 he took a job as a press photographer at the Times of India Newspaper in Bombay where he worked until the out break of World War II.  He initially joined up as a ‘Gunner’ but soon took the Job as Head photographer for the Indian Army during the second world war where he worked out of GHQ New Delhi (Now Parliament), His duties include photographing ceremonies and Japanese positions behind enemy lines in Burma.

My grandfather married his Bride, Doll Miles at the church of redemption in New Delhi and 1943 and my Mother Anne Scott was born later that year in Amritsar, Punjab, whilst he was away on active duty during the war. He was in position on 14th August 1947 to photograph the hand over of Power and watched as the Mountbattens left Vicregal lodge (now Rashtrapati Bhavan). During the troubles of partition, because my family were Anglo Indian, they fled from Delhi to Bombay, and then took a ship to the new country of Pakistan where in November of that  same year they left for a new life in the United Kingdom.

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Responses (17)

  1. peter wickens says:

    Hi Jason,

    Would you be related to Jim Tilley,Old Sanawarian and Indian Army ?
    My father was always talking about Jim Tilley who was “the strongest man I Know”.
    My father was at the Lawrence school in 1925 along with his brother Errol,later he joined the army in 1933.

    Best wishes,

    Peter Wickens

  2. Mathew T. George says:

    The caption of the photograph identifies Cannanore as being in Karnataka, and then offers a correction. Why? Kannur was never in Karnataka, to the best of my understanding. It was part of the Malabar Province (British Malabar) of the Madras Presidency. And, then, became a part of Kerala state.

  3. […] nickname of the Lawrence Memorial Military School in the town of ‘Ooty’ in the Niligiri Hills. My great-grandfather, Algernon Edwin Scott, had a summer-house in Ooty and my grandpa would spend weekends with him whilst he was studying at […]

    • Edward Dawes says:

      Did anyone in Your Family attend Lawrence Lovedale? My father Cecil Lancelot Dawes was in Otty around 1910/20. The Train from Otty to the School was built first then the School. Do you have Pictures from that time.

      I belive that they were a couple of Dawes`s that took 3 thousand tons of Railway track from England around 1860/70 to Madras.

      Then there is the famous Christ Church hidden by a huge wall in the middle of Madras. This Church was a Meeting Place for many then. Records are well kept.

      My grand father William Dawes was a sub-inspector of police at a station called Ropatta…..We visted it when the Madras Police were celebrating their 100 yrs. anni:.

      The there is war memorial to many outside a Church in Bangalore. Lovely Church and memorial. We also found Our great grand parents lying side by side in cemetery in Bangalore.

      all the best

  4. EZHILMARAN says:

    Such a nice fascinating story!

  5. Dev says:

    Hi Jason, I wish my dad had been alive today. Do send me your email id, there is so much to share. mine is dev.kumar.vasudevan@gmail.com

  6. Adit Dave says:

    What a great story.

  7. Jack Richardson says:

    Seen the picture of Edwin Ebenezer Scott who was my great grandfather on my Mum’s side. Her grandmother was Emily Good Andre. So James Scott Savory was my 3xgreat grandfather. Love to hear from anyone related.


  8. Jason Tilley says:

    Hi Dev, I’ve just checked entry number 65. I had a good read of it before. My Grandmother also worked at GHQ and she is still alive, i wonder if there paths crossed?

  9. Dev says:

    Thanks for posting this. My father was also posted at GHQ. He was in the Signals section. His stint if I remember rightly was from 1946-49. Do check entry no 65 when you get the time.

  10. Ashwin says:

    Jason, fascinating story! Thanks for replying. Enjoy your next visit to India.


  11. Jason Tilley says:

    Hello Ashwin. No I do not believe it was safer for the Anglo community to be in Pakistan at that time no, although as my Grandpa was in the army they would have been safer in the cantunment areas with the army. My Grandpa was in Delhi for partition and he and another officer spent days and nights hiding Muslim men in the boot of their jeep, to drive them out of dangerous areas in Delhi.

    On another note, the ships for the United Kingdom were leaving from the port of Karachi, so in effects I dont think they had much choice of where to go. They had to reach Karachi. Travelling south to Bombay by train to catch a ship to Karachi seemed safer.

    In a twist of fate, as my Grandparents were walking there children around the race horse track in Karachi, they were held against there will by what my Grandpa called a group of ‘Pathans’ these men threaten to cut the heads of their childen( my mother and aunt). They waited for there group leader to arrive and by chance it was one of the men my Grandpa had help escape from Delhi, luck or fate?

    I’m really not sure if it was safe for Anglo’s to be any where as as you will be aware they sided with the British during the first war of Independence in 1857.

    Just on another note Aswin I travel in India every year now and I always have a fantastic time.

    best wishes, Jason Tilley

  12. Ashwin says:

    I am curious as to why your family during Partition chose to leave Bombay and go to Pakistan. Was it considered safer for the anglo-Indian community to be in Pakistan rather than in India during this time?

  13. Sue Trosser says:

    Jason I can’t believe I can across your posting! I too am related to James Scott Savory through his son Thomas. I would love to hear from you.

  14. Yashoda Joshi says:

    Thanks for posting this. It would nice to see more of such historical images of India pre 1947

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