|'Commander Scott' used to be Lt. Doohan|
To the world he was best known as "Commander Montgomery 'Scotty' Scott," chief engineer aboard the Starship Enterprise in the television and movie franchise "Star Trek." Known for his swagger, technical know-how and thick Scottish accent, Commander Scott graced screens large and small (in real-life series or movies, cartoons or video games) for 31 years, beginning in 1966. However, the actor that played Commander Scott, James Montgomery "Jimmy" Doohan (March 3, 1920-July 20, 2005) was not Scottish, but born in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada and had a noteworthy career during World War II serving in the Canadian Army.
|Royal Canadian Artillery insignia|
Doohan was the youngest of four children born to William Patrick Doohan and his wife, the former Sarah Frances Montgomery. His father, an Irish immigrant from Northern Ireland, practiced several professions during his life, including: pharmacist, veterinarian and dentist. In addition, Doohan's father is actually credited with inventing an early version of high-octane gasoline in 1923.
The family settled in Sarnia, Ontario, where Doohan attended high school and excelled in both mathematics and science. He then entered the 102nd Royal Canadian Army Cadet Corps in 1938.
At the very beginning of World War II, Doohan joined the ranks of the Royal Canadian Artillery and was assigned to the 14th (Midland) Field Battery, 2nd Canadian Infantry Division as an enlisted soldier. The division was mobilized for war on September 1, 1939 and was composed of three brigades, composed of soldiers from regional lines.
|Doohan while a corporal|
During the formation of the 2nd Canadian Infantry, Doohan served as a model soldier and, at a time when the Canadian Army could use all of the good artillery officers it could find, was split from his unit and sent to officer's training in England, in 1940.
Upon graduating from officers training, Doohan was assigned to the 14th Artillery Regiment of the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division. The 3rd Canadian Division, nicknamed "The Water Rats," was reactivated for World War II, and previously fought in World War I (1915-1919). This second iteration of the 3rd Division would serve throughout World War II (1940-1946).
|14th Artillery Regiment insignia|
So, it was Lieutenant Doohan who disembarked from his unit's landing craft on June 6, 1944, during the invasion of Normandy at Juno Beach.
In an article for StarTrek.com, Doohan would later say of the invasion, "The sea was rough. We were more afraid of drowning than (we were of) the Germans." Doohan downplayed the peril he and his men faced that day, though, as the Canadians had to cross a minefield laid for armored vehicles.
German defenders of Normandy fought furiously to keep hold of Occupied France and Doohan was shot by an enemy machine-gunner, taking six bullets. One German bullet blew off his middle right finger, four struck his leg and one hit him in the chest. However, luckily, a silver cigarette case stopped that bullet from penetrating his skin.
Throughout his Postwar acting career, Doohan would go to lengths to hide the missing finger that he left back in Normandy.
After Normandy, Doohan went on to attend, and graduate from, the Air Observation Pilot Course with 11 other officers. As an artillery officer, rather than as a member of the Royal Canadian Air Force, Doohan flew for the 666 (AOP) Squadron for the RCAF scouting enemy movements on battlefields from France to Germany for the rest of the war.
|Lieutenant James Montgomery Doohan|
With the war's end, rather than continue in the Army, Doohan returned to his native Canada and began his acting career after attending drama school in Toronto.
Doohan credited his Army experiences for helping him out with his 'Star Trek' role, as he patterned his signature Scottish accent from a roommate he had who was Scottish while in uniform.
During his tenure in the Canadian Army, Doohan earned, along with his commission, the Canadian Atlantic Star Medal, for aircrew service in Europe, France and Germany; the France and Germany Star, for service in Europe; and the War Medal (1939-45), for his service during the war, among others.