Francis Alexander Carron Scrimger (1881–1937) enlisted on September 23, 1914, citing his date of birth as February 10, 1881. The Montreal surgeon embarked for England with the 14th Battalion. He joined the No. 1 Canadian General Hospital, in France, in April 1915, but was soon transferred to the No. 2 Field Ambulance. He returned to the 14th Battalion on April 23, 1915, and two days later his advanced dressing station came under bombardment. While under enemy fire, Scrimger succeeded in evacuating the wounded, including a wounded officer. At the end of his strength and unable to continue, he stayed with the wounded officer, still under heavy fire, until help arrived. He was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions and dedication on that day. Sometime later, Scrimger was hospitalized after his finger became infected during an operation he was performing. The finger had to be amputated. He continued to care for the wounded in various military hospitals until the end of the war, and returned to Canada in 1919 with the rank of lieutenant-colonel.
Service Record Details
Date of Birth: February 10, 1881 (Montreal, Quebec)
Date of Attestation: September 23, 1914
Age at Enlistment: 33 years, 6 months
Height: 5 feet, 7 1/2 inches
Weight: Not indicated
Description: Fair, medium complexion, grey eyes, brown hair. Presbyterian. 2 vaccinations left arm. Small transverse scar right thigh inner side. Scar in right lumbar region.
Home Address: 154 Metcalfe Street, Montreal, Quebec
Details of Family: Mother, living at 69 McTavish Street, Montreal, Quebec.
Next of Kin: Mother
Branch of Service: Canadian Army Medical Corps (C.A.M.C.)
Theatre of War: France
Casualties / Medical History
- February to March 1916 – Scrimger is evacuated to England with an infected finger on his left hand. He acquired the infection when he accidentally cut himself while operating. The finger is eventually amputated. After his treatment, he is granted a months’ sick leave. (Pages 11, 12, 33, 41 and 56)
- July 4, 1916 – The wound from his amputated finger is now healed and he is fit for duty. (Page 59)
- March 21, 1919 – He is treated for myopic astigmatism at Shorncliffe Army Camp in England. (Page 40)
Interesting Details from the Service Record
- April 3, 1914 – The commanding officer of the 4th Division writes to the secretary of the Militia Council, at headquarters in Ottawa, to recommend Scrimger for promotion to the rank of captain. (Page 25)
- March 1919 – He is now married, and his new wife, Ellen E. Scrimger, replaces his mother as his next of kin. (Pages 36 and 70)
- April 29, 1919 – He returns to Canada from Liverpool, England, on the SS Baltic. (Page 6)
- February 13, 1937 – He dies in Montreal at the age of 55. (Page 2)
The London Gazette
The London Gazette—Supplement 29202, Page 6115, June 22, 1915
“Captain Francis Alexander Caron Scrimger, Canadian Army Medical Service, Medical Officer, 14th Battalion, Royal Montreal Regiment.
“On the afternoon of 25th April, 1915, in the neighbourhood of Ypres, when in charge of an advanced dressing station in some farm buildings, which were being heavily shelled by the enemy, he directed under heavy fire the removal of the wounded, and he himself carried a severely wounded Officer out of a stable in search of a place of greater safety. When he was unable alone to carry this Officer further, he remained with him under fire till help could be obtained.
“During the very heavy fighting between 22nd and 25th April, Captain Scrimger displayed continuously day and night the greatest devotion to his duty among the wounded at the front.”
Military Medals, Honours and Awards
In 1911, Francis Scrimger is 31 years old and living in Montreal with his parents, John (62) and Charlotte (60), and his sister Muriel (28). A domestic servant, Jessie McQuaig (24), also lives in the house. All members of the household are of Scottish descent and are Presbyterian. John is employed as a principal at a Presbyterian college and Francis is a physician. John, Francis and Muriel are bilingual, speaking both English and French.