Major-General James Scott-Elliot, CB, CBE, DSO and Bar; born November 6, 1902, died September 12, 1996

IN his 93 years, James Scott-Elliot combined an outstanding military career with a discerning and intelligent interest in a wide variety of subjects ranging from Scottish history to dowsing.

Born into a military family, the son of Lt Colonel W Scott-Elliot DSO, he was educated at Wellington College and Sandhurst. Having been commissioned into the King's Own Scottish Borderers, he served with the 2nd Battalion in Egypt, Hong Kong, Shanghai, and India. From Malta, he was transferred to the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders. In 1939, he was made number three in Scottish Command.

Following the outbreak of war, he became Brigade Major of the 154th Brigade in the 51st Highland Division when they were dispatched to France. Although initially employed on the anti-tank defences around Lille, his brigade was withdrawn to assist with the defence of Le Havre.

In 1942, Scott-Elliot was put in command of the 6th Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, which had become the 93rd Anti-Tank Regiment Royal Artillery for the Tunisian campaign. Shortly afterwards he was put in charge of the 9th Battalion following the death of their commander. He then commanded the 8th Argylls throughout the Sicilian Campaign, being awarded the DSO after the surrender of Centuripe, west of Mount Etna. He won his second DSO during the 1943 landings at Termoli in Italy, when his few anti-tank guns bravely succeeded in preventing the counter attack from the 6th Panzer Division.

In 1943, promoted to command the 17th Indian Brigade, Scott-Elliot recaptured the hill town of Mozzagronga before being sent across to the west coast of Italy to command the 167th (London) Brigade of the 56th Division. On 25th April 1945, his troops were the first to cross the River Po.

The war over, 1946 found him in Germany commanding the 130th Brigade. Within months he was back in Italy to take over command of the 13th Brigade again following the assassination of his successor, and he remained with them until after the political settlement of May 1947.

There followed a distinguished peacetime career as Deputy Director of Military Training in the War Office from 1948 until 1950, Deputy Commander 51st Highland Division, from 1950 until 1952, and Commander from 1952 until his retirement in 1956.

From 1954 until 1961, he represented Caerlaverock as an independent member on Dumfriesshire County Council. From 1962 until 1967, he served as Lord Lieutenant of Dumfriesshire.

At the same time, his interest in history led to his becoming President of the Dumfries & Galloway Natural History and Antiquarian Society, and in 1962, President of the Society of Antiquaries (Scotland). He retired from both posts in 1967.

Another great interest was in water and mineral divining, and he served as President of the British Society of Dowsers until 1976, writing Dowsing One Man's Way, published in 1977.

In 1932 he married Cecil Margaret Du Buisson and they has one son and two daughters. The marriage was dissolved in 1969 and in 1971 he was married to Fay Courtauld, who survives him.