Life can take people in many directions. Wapakoneta resident Nancy Scott is a shining example.
Scott recently received the Award of Service medal from the Queen of England, Queen Elizabeth, for her service in the Women’s Land Army in England.
Scott finished attending school by the age of 14 in her hometown of Newcastle upon Tyne, England. By 16, at the height of World War II, she had enlisted in the Women’s Land Army (WLA). The WLA was a British civilian organization created during the war to work in place of men in various agricultural aspects when men were called up to the military.
As a member of the WLA, Scott was shipped throughout the country to cut down trees.
Armed with a 3-pound axe, Scott’s unit cut down trees to be used for “pit props in 2-, 4- and 6-foot lengths, as well as 12-foot logs to be used for telephone poles. Pit props are commonly used to prop up roofs of tunnels.
She decided to join the WLA because she loved the outdoors, which many years later has led to her commendation.
“I was very impressed that they would remember this,” Scott said. “I was quite taken aback. My goodness, that was 66 years ago. I am kind of proud of it.”
Toward the end of 1943 destiny took Scott’s life on another interesting turn. While chopping trees in southern England near Charlbury, the American Army was camped nearby and came to the forest to get firewood from the WLA. It was then that Scott met Cpl. Robert Scott from nearby Fort Recovery.
“He was so handsome,” Scott said with a smile. “He asked me on a date.”
Six months later, at the Church of England, they were married on May 8, 1944. One month later, on D-Day, her husband was gone again.
“I just waited on the war to get over so I could come over and be with him,” Scott said.
The war eventually ended, and Robert Scott made his way home in September of 1945. Nine months later he was joined by his wife.
The couple spent 44 years of marriage until Robert’s death in 1989. Scott loves America but she has maintained dual citizenship like many war brides from that era. However, she also has retained her love for her home land.
“England is such a beautiful country,” Scott said.
However, with only some cousins still living in England, her visits have been few and far between.
She visited once in 1975, and again in 1986. Her connection, with the exception of memories, seemed to be forever disconnected until she was surprised with her commendation medal.
Scott’s granddaughter, Tory Scott, found out about the commendation and submitted the paperwork for her grandmother to receive the medal.
Scott showed the medal and other artifacts from the war in a scrapbook and recalled the memories.
“I remember there were bombs every night,” Scott said. “I remember when I was 14 and they took us out of school to move us to the coast. They weren’t thinking very well because that was always the first place they bombed.
She said despite the constant bombing, people typically stayed in their homes despite the constant danger.
“There were bomb shelters in the middle of the streets,” Scott said, “but they were cold and damp. After a while everyone just started staying in their homes and taking their chances.”