The Madras College Archive


Former Pupil Biographies

James Stuart ‘Hamish’ Scott (1924 - 2010)

Hamish Scott - "Dr James Stuart “Hamish” Scott was a Scottish rugby internationalist and scientist.

He wore the thistle for the only time as number eight in the Scotland XV which beat England 13-11 in the Calcutta Cup match of 1950 at Murrayfield. At the time, he was an undergraduate at St Andrews and, like several contemporaries from that varsity team, he had also played for Scottish Universities. In fact, Scott was the last St Andrews student to be capped internationally prior to graduating.

Hamish attended Madras College, excelling both in the classroom and on the rugby pitch. He left school during the Second World War and, like so many of his generation, was soon on active service, with the Royal Navy. He served on the destroyer HMS Scorpion, with the Home Fleet at Scapa Flow, which exposed him to escort duties on the Russian convoys. Scorpion and Scott also saw action in the Battle of North Cape, during which the German battle cruiser Scharnhorst was sunk. He later saw service in Australia, before, on demobilisation, the now Petty Officer Scott was finally able to resume his academic career.

Prior to being called up, he had completed two terms of an engineering course at Dundee’s United College, part of St Andrews University, but, on returning to academia in 1946, he transferred to read for a geology degree.

He spent the long vacation of 1949 as a member of an expedition studying in Nepal, visiting and surveying parts of that country which had long been closed to Europeans. During this trip, under W H “Bill” Tilman, the famous mountaineer and explorer, the party, which included the Sherpa Norgay Tensing, surveyed the areas of Langtang, Ganesh and Manang. Scott was official photographer on the trip, which also saw the first ascent of the 5,896m mountain Paldor and the discovery of what is now the Tilman Pass, beyond Gangchempo.

His graduation, in 1950 came shortly after his international breakthrough, but he turned his back on possible future rugby honours by taking the Colonial Office’s fisheries course, playing for Blackheath while training in London, prior to taking up a post with the colonial government in Malaya, where his field of expertise was marine biology.

He presented his rugby cap to his old school Madras in 1951.

He represented North Malaya against South Malaya at rugby, while his work enabled him to write the definitive book on the fish life of Malayan waters.

He then returned to St Andrews in 1960 to complete his PhD in parasitology, and turned out for Madras FP, where he was an honorary life member. He died aged 86 while on a visit from his home in St Andrews, New Brunswick, Canada, to his childhood home of St Andrews in Fife.