Mystery solved! F. G. Scott's rock comes to light

MNA for Jacques-Cartier Geoffrey Kelley, Clive Meredith and Marie Cantin of the National Battlefields Commission (NBC) traipsed through the Plains of Abraham in the rain on Tuesday afternoon to find a very special white stone, behind the Chateau Saint Louis.
The famous stone was painted by Frederick George Scott, a former pastor of St. Matthew’s Church, Rue St-Jean. Carved in black letters are the words Credo 1941.
F.G. Scott was Kelley’s great grandfather. “My great grandfather’s daughter Mary married Arthur Kelley,” explained the MNA, during the quick adventure between sitting at the National Assembly and Question Period. “The two were Anglican pastors in Quebec City at St. Matthew’s Church, which is now a municipal library.”
The QCT found out about the story through the Meredith connection. As the NBC set up for Halloween activities in the Jeanne-D’Arc Gardens, a fake rock was once again placed on display with a sign inviting anyone with information on its history to contact them. This year, Clive Meredith called.
He has played a role in keeping F. G. Scott’s Credo rock in good shape. He took on repainting the rock after Arthur Scott’s widow Janet moved away from Quebec City.
A couple of years ago, Clive’s daughter Helen met Geoffrey Kelly and took him to see his family monument.
“[The rock] was carved in 1941 during the most difficult moment for the Allied Forces in the Second World War. It was like a prayer, a gesture of hope from him for a good outcome in the war,” said Kelley.
The NBC’s Marie Cantin explained to Kelley that a colleague had discovered that the Eighth Royal Rifles, the regiment that Scott had served with during the First World War, had been massacred in Hong Kong in 1941. “We think that maybe that’s the link, the reason why he sculpted that in memory of his battalion, his companions in arms,” Cantin said.
“The family lore,” offered Kelley, “was a lot of the bad news at end of 1941, not only Hong Kong but of the war in England as well, the Battle of Britain, the British at Dunkirk. I think it was just a gesture of hope for the Allied cause which was at a low.”
Meredith agreed. “I would like to think it was in memory of the men who fell at Hong Kong.”
Kelley, who lives in Montreal, had been to visit the rock only once before. “[F. G. Scott] lived at the Chateau Saint Louis at the end of his life. He saved part of the Wolfe monument after it was blown up. It’s part of the picnic table behind the Chateau Saint Louis,” said Kelley, beside several cannon balls.
Another mystery solved, said Cantin, delighted to learn about the author of the picnic table.
“My Aunt Helen, who lives in Ste-Anne-de Bellevue, knows a lot of these stories because she was born in 1922. She knew her grandfather well. He lived until 1954; she knows lots of his stories,” said Kelley.
As Kelley and Meredith stood in front of the rock, one question came to mind: who was going to repaint the rock from now on?
“That’s what Clive’s daughter Helen keeps reminding me of. It’s my sacred duty to do it now. Maybe the National Battlefields Commission will help us out because when I’m in Quebec City, I am usually in suit and tie and not necessarily in the right clothes to be painting rocks,” said Kelley, with a smile.
For Kelley, being able to connect with his family roots is special.
“It’s a great story. F. G. Scott wrote a book of memoirs as senior chaplain in the First World War. CBC aired last Easter a series of shows on the Great War, where they took descendants of First World War soldiers back to the battlefields of Europe. My son, who would be F.G. Scott’s great great grandson, was amongst the 13 Canadians chosen to go back and retrace the steps of their ancestors,” explained Kelley. “My son went back, visited the church in one of those villages where probably not much has changed in 90 years. He said it was a very moving experience to walk down the streets, almost like a tour guide, 90 years later. F.G. Scott’s second son Harry Scott was killed in the battle of the Somme in 1916. My son brought over a picture of his widow, who was someone I knew because she used to come to our Christmas dinners. It was very moving again to see my son placing Connie Scott’s picture on the grave of Harry Scott who is buried near Albert in Northern France. He was one of that generation of people who rushed off to the First World War for God, King and country and didn’t come back. One of the many thousand Canadian and Quebec families that were touched by that.”
Kelley acknowledged the work of Valcartier Garrison troops serving in Afghanistan. “Obviously, when you see today the fact that so many families from the Quebec region and the fact that it’s the Vandoos who are there – these stories of war and sacrifice come back,” said Kelley. “I always participate in Remembrance Day ceremonies. The Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue Hospital is in my riding so it’s always a moment when you think back to those generations who were and are called upon to venture out into a dangerous world.”
Kelley will bring his son to see the rock. “It’ a very special moment,” he said. “The family was very happy that F.G. Scott’s memoirs were just reissued. It’s fun that more people can read that because it was a terrible war and it was a terrible sacrifice for reasons that 90 years later perhaps weren’t always all that clear. I think there are messages there too.”