Former Pupil (1949) donates School Medals

We would like to thank James Scott (FP 1949), for visiting and donating several medals that he won during his time at Dollar Academy.

James Scott CB LVO (FP 1949) was born in Jaffa, Palestine, and boarded at Dollar Academy from the age of 7. We would like to thank James for donating these medals to the school, and sharing stories about his time here. He has written about his memories at Dollar which you can read below:


My name is James Scott, I was a pupil at Dollar from 1939 until 1949. I am now 92 years old and believe that I am one of the Academy’s oldest male FPs. At this time of life, one downsizes and I offered the medals I had won at school to the archivist. They were gracefully accepted. They include three subject medals in silver for English, French and History, the Kennedy Medal, the Milne Medal, two Bisley medals, one silver, the other bronze, and a key fob from a Scottish shooting competition at the Dechmont ranges in Edinburgh.



I am a relic from the days of the Empire, when a large part of the world was labelled “British” and the map coloured red. My family, sheep farmers from Ettrick, had been drawn into it by the First World War in which my father, starting with the Yeomanry and ending up in Damascus as a Cavalry Captain after Allenby had driven the Turks and Germans out of the Middle East, found employment in the last addition to Empire, Palestine, as Sanitary Surveyor (later Town Clerk) for the Arab Municipality of Jaffa. My mother had a similar war as VAD nurse, ending up in a military hospital in Gaza.


Dollar was attuned to this imperial environment in which so many Scots found employment overseas and offered a substantial number of boarding places. There was an annual Rugby match between Britons (born in UK) and Foreigners (born abroad) which in my day was often won by the Foreigners of which I was one since I had been born in Jaffa. My sister had been sent to Dollar and in 1939, with War imminent, so was I, to board at Parkfield which was a private house run by a family from Sri Lanka but supervised by the Academy. By then I had had two years of schooling in a Church of Scotland Mission School in Jaffa, which had pitched straight in to the three Rs with the result that I was placed a year ahead of my age group in the Dollar prep.




A decent set of Highers was the summit of ambition for most, for it was the key to most employments, but for those who wanted to go to University opportunity lay in the great Bursary exams held after a sixth year at school. I sat the exam for St Andrews without high hopes but was astonished to get the most valuable scholarship on offer which covered fees, accommodation and books. I was bathed in congratulation: the Academy declared a half-holiday, the success was covered on the front page of the “Alloa Advertiser” and the Clackmannan Director of Education turned up on them doorstep to congratulate me. To those who have, it shall be given: the School topped up with a Drysdale Scholarship and the County made a contribution, so University was comfortable.


I clearly was a swot and kept it up, winning medals for economics and ultimately a prize for the best student in the Faculty of Arts (£50, spent on a motorcycle), but principally by placing high in the entrance exam for the fast stream of the Commonwealth Relations Office and the Foreign Office. I chose the former, but first had to put in two years of National Service which ended in a ground attack squadron in Germany where I found I could hit a target with an (unguided) rocket as well as with a rifle at Dollar.



After that it was a varied life: four years in New Delhi with a wife and the beginnings of a family and four years in New York with the UK Mission to the United Nations. By this time I was becoming somewhat disillusioned with the diplomatic life, so transferred to the Scottish Office in 1965 where I eventually became Secretary of the Scottish Education Department and then of the Scottish Industry Department before leaving to become Chief Executive of the Scottish Development Agency. Expectations of a self-indulgent retirement at that point were deferred by taking on the job of Executive Director of Scottish Financial Enterprise and though I did take a Private Pilots’ Ticket on leaving SFE with the aim of becoming an Instructor, that was overtaken by family demands and a growing interest in Nationalist politics.


For me, it has been a varied and interesting life, bedecked with fruit salad like the CB, the LVO, Fellowship of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and Chevalier de l’Ordre National du Mérite, but firmly founded on the attitudes, the habits and the encouragement given to me at Dollar. It is also a full stop for the UK, the World, ambitions, attitudes and perceptions, the nature of education now is totally alien to one of my generation, though I try to ride with the flow.