SCOTT, John Atkinson
(Service number 6/1082)
|First Rank||Private||Last Rank||Corporal|
|Date||13 December 1890||Place of Birth||Morven, Waimate, Canterbury|
|Date||12 August 1914||Age||23 years 8 months|
|Address at Enlistment||Beaconsfield, via Timaru|
|Previous Military Experience||2nd South Canterbury Regiment|
|Next of Kin||Mrs Catherine SCOTT (mother), Junction Road, Waimate|
|Medical Information||Height 5 feet 7 inches. Weight 140 lbs. Chest measurement 34-36½ inches. Complexion fair. Eyes blue. Hair light brown. Sight, hearing and colour vision all good. Limbs well formed. Chest well formed. Heart and lungs normal. Teeth good. Free from hernia, varicocele, varicose veins, haemorrhoids, inveterate or contagious skin disease. Vaccinated. Good bodily and mental health. No slight defects.|
|Served with||NZ Armed Forces||Served in||Army|
|Body on Embarkation||Main Body|
|Unit, Squadron, or Ship||Canterbury Infantry Battalion|
|Date||16 October 1914|
|Transport||Tahiti or Athenic|
|Embarked From||Lyttelton, Canterbury||Destination||Suez, Egypt|
|Other Units Served With|
|Last Unit Served With||Canterbury Infantry Battalion|
|Campaigns||Egyptian; Balkans (Gallipoli)|
|Service Medals||1914-15 Star; British War Medal; Victory Medal|
Award Circumstances and Date
Prisoner of War Information
|Date of Capture|
|Where Captured and by Whom|
|Actions Prior to Capture|
|PoW Serial Number|
Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses
|Date||25 April 1915||Age||24 years|
|Place of Death||Dardanelles, Gallipoli|
|Cause||Killed in action|
|Memorial or Cemetery||Lone Pine Memorial, Lone Pine Cemetery, Anzac, Turkey. Parents' headstone in Waimate Cemetery.|
|Memorial Reference||Panel 74|
|New Zealand Memorials||Timaru Memorial Wall; Otipua District War Memorial; Waimate War Memorial; St Augustine's Church Waimate Memorial|
John Atkinson Scott, who was born on 13 December 1890 at Morven, was known as Jack and was the older son of William and Catherine (née Atkinson) Scott, of Waimate. His father was from the Scottish Borders. In 1876 he went to Victoria, Australia, and in 1881 to New Zealand. He married Irish-born Catherine Atkinson in 1886 at Christchurch and they settled at Morven where William farmed. William was a member of the Waihao School committee during John's time at the school. From Waihao School John went on to the Waimate High School. William died in 1913 and after Catherine died in 1916, John's brother, William Francis Scott then living in Timaru, became the contact and next-of-kin for John. It was to his brother William that his medals (1914-1915 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal), plaque and scroll were sent in 1921.
After schooling at the Waihao Native School and Waimate High School, John was employed as a grocer and was managing Kernohan, McCahon and Company's store at Beaconsfield. He had registered for compulsory military training at Timaru and was among the first to volunteer. From the Territorials, he enrolled and passed the examination on 12 August 1914 at Timaru, in a very lively and busy Drill Shed; he was not one of those rejected because they were over age or under age, insufficiently developed, had no experience, or were overweight (the regulation weight was 12 stone). He was 5 feet 7 inches tall and weighed 140 pounds, with fair complexion, blue eyes and light brown hair. John fitted all the criteria and, unlike many, he had good teeth. He nominated his mother, Mrs Catherine Scott, of Junction Road, Waimate, as his next-of-kin. Jack, himself, was residing at Beaconsfield via Timaru.
He was named as a Private in the infantry contingent to go under the command of Captain Grant and Captain Houlker. The South Canterbury infantry arrived in camp on 17 August and quickly settled down in the quarters prepared for them. On 17 October 1914 he was promoted to Corporal, immediately after embarking on 16 October from Lyttelton for Suez, Egypt, with the Canterbury Infantry Body. Here was another fit, fresh-faced young man in the prime of life, who went forward to his death; who disembarked at Alexandria on 4 December 1914 and before his 24th birthday had been killed in action at the Dardanelles, Gallipoli. Little would he have dreamed of this fate. John was one of those whose death is recorded as on 25 April 1915, but really all that is known is that it occurred between 25 April and 1 May.
When the casualty list was received in Timaru on 23 May, sympathy was expressed for the parents who had been bereaved. The flag at the Municipal Chambers was flown at half-mast. The Mayor asked citizens to fly their flags at half-mast on the 24th, "out of respect to the memory of the gallant men who have fallen in defence of their country." The Otipua bachelors' ball in June 1915 was postponed indefinitely because of the death of Private J. A. Scott, their secretary. At the May 1915 meeting of the Waimate Borough Council, a resolution of sympathy and condolence with the relatives of Lieutenant Maurice and Corporal Scott, who had lost their lives at the Dardanelles, was carried by members standing – “That this Council expresses its sincere regret at the loss sustained by this district through the death of Lieut. Maurice and Private [sic] J. A. Scott in the defence of their country, and its sincere sympathy with their relatives in their grief.”. The St Augustine’s Young Men’s Society, Waimate, held a mock banquet on 13 July 1915, at which a toast was proposed to “Our Boys at the Front”. Many of their members were the first to volunteer for service. By this time several of them had been wounded and one had given his life – Jack Scott. On 1 August 1915 a memorial service was held at Knox Church, Waimate, for Corporal Scott and two other local servicemen who had laid down their lives for their country at the Dardanelles. The choir sang a special anthem.
His mother noted that she had been shown letters received by friends of John in Waimate from some of his comrades in the firing line, in which they referred to him as having been killed in action. One of those letters may well have been the one received by Mrs Cague of St Andrews from her son Corporal W. Cague at Mudros, in which he says that he was alongside J. Scott and J. Millburn when they were killed; that he was sorry to lose them. They were both killed on the third day after landing and they were both shot by snipers. He thought they were too eager, because they used to lean right across the parapet and shoot at top. Private Tom Russell, of Waimate, writing on 18 May from Malta with regard to the falling of Barclay and Maurice, noted “I believe Jack Scott was also killed the first day . . .”
Corporal D. Leeden, 2nd South Canterbury Co, (of Waimate), wrote on 25th July from the Gallipoli Peninsula a tribute to his a fellow non-commissioned officer, Corporal J. A. Scott, of Waimate. Leeden was well acquainted with Scott and was in a position to note the high estimation in which he was held by all. He wrote thus of the first Waimate boy to be killed – ‘In the death of Corporal Scott, our regiment has lost one of its keenest and most enthusiastic non-commissioned officers. Whilst he was faithfully carrying out the duties attached to his rank, his quiet and unassuming nature soon won for him the appreciation of his comrades, who were unanimous in proclaiming him a thorough gentleman and a true soldier. He was one of our Waimate contingent who enlisted on the outbreak of the war with the main body, and the same noble spirit which prompted him to answer the first call of the Empire was manifest in him all throughout our camps in Addington, and Egypt, until that memorable Sunday, April 25th, when Corporal Scott, along with many brave comrades, made the supreme sacrifice on Gallipoli Peninsula.. It was the same old story of true British patriotism — young life cheerfully given to the cause of justice and freedom, and in the fight against tyranny and oppression. “Who dies if England live?”
“Killed in action!” What nobler and more honourable epitaph could be inscribed on the little wooden crosses which mark the graves of our dead on the Peninsula?
His future was one of great promise, but his unselfish spirit was strong to realise the path of duty. Better by far to sacrifice that bright career in the cause of Empire than to live in shame at having heard the call to duty and heeded it not. The splendid example of such heroes, as Corporal Scott, might well be taken to heart by many of our civilian comrades in New Zealand to-day. In this time of such a colossal national crisis, have they greater claims to a life of ease and pleasure than the millions who have done and are doing their share to-day?
Although he rests by the sea-girt hills of the Gallipoli Peninsula, Corporal Scott will long live in the memories of the “boys” of the 2nd South Canterbury Regiment, who were privileged to share the associations of a true soldier and a man. To the family of our late comrade we extend our sincere sympathy, knowing well they will carry their sorrow with that fortitude born of true patriotism.’ (Waimate Daily Advertiser. 15 September 1915)
Jack left surviving him his mother, his one brother and five sisters. His brother William Francis Scott of Dunedin also served in World War I. Sympathy was expressed to his brother William in 1915 by the Timaru Branch of the N.Z. Drivers', Firemen and Cleaners' Association. John and William had cousins who served in World War I with the American Forces. John had left all his documents and papers in the custody of his mother but there was no Will. Letters of Administration were granted to his mother in September 1915, his estate being valued at £556. When Mrs Scott died in January 1916 her executors were her son William and two daughters Jeannie and Wilhelmina.
John Atkinson Scott is remembered on the Lone Pine Memorial at Gallipoli, on the Timaru War Memorial, the Otipua District War Memorial, rhe Waimate Memorial, and the Waimate St Augustine’s Church Memorial, and on his parents' headstone in the Waimate Cemetery. The name of Corporal J. A. Scott also appeared under “Paid the Supreme Sacrifice” in the Roll of Honour published regularly in the Waimate Daily Advertiser.
Cenotaph Database [30 June 2013]; NZ Defence Force Personnel Records (Archives ref. AABK 18805 W5553 0102635) [01 August 2013]; CWGC [04 November 2013]; Timaru Herald, 24 April 1895, 30 April 1896, 26 April 1899, 13 August 1914, 24 May 1915, 1 & 7 June 1915, 10 December 1915, 10 January 1916, Ashburton Guardian, 14 August 1914, Press, 18 August 1914, 24 & 25 May 1915, 16 September 1915, Dominion, 24 December 1915, Oamaru Mail, 26 May 1915, Waimate Daily Advertiser, 24 & 26 May 1915, 13, 14 & 31 July 1915, 15 September 1915, 21 May 1917, Evening Post, 24 December 1915 (Papers Past) [18 November 2013, 19 November 2013; 01 September 2014; 15 January 2015; 12 March 2015; 11 & 12 April 2015; 25 May 2015; 30 June 2015, 30 June 2017; 02 & 09 January 2018]; Headstone transcription Waimate Old Cemetery (South Canterbury Branch NZSG Cemetery microfiches) [12 April 2015]; Probate Record (Archives NZ/ancestry.com.au) [12 March 2015]; known family information (T. G. Scott) [pre 2013] School Admission Records (South Canterbury Branch NZSG) [pre 2013]
- Timaru Herald 10 Dec 1915 - St Andrews man's letter (pdf, 36.0 KB updated 01-Sep-2017)
- SCOTT John Atkinson - newspaper clippings, 1915 (pdf, 40.4 KB updated 21-Feb-2018)
- Mountainview High School Roll of Honour (pdf, 809.5 KB updated 13-May-2016)
Researched and Written by
Teresa Scott, SC branch NZSG
Currently Assigned to
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