SCOTT, Aubrey William
(Service number 47366)

First Rank Sapper Last Rank Sapper


Date 16 August 1892 Place of Birth Woodbury

Enlistment Information

Date 23 January 1917 Age 24 years 5 months
Address at Enlistment Geraldine
Occupation Sawmiller
Previous Military Experience 8th South Canterbury Mounted Rifles (still serving)
Marital Status Single
Next of Kin John SCOTT (father), Raukapuka, Geraldine
Religion Church of England
Medical Information Height 5 feet 7½ inches. Weight 133 lbs. Chest measurement 33½-35½ inches. Complexion fresh. Eyes hazel. Hair brown. Sight - both eyes 6/6. Hearing and colour vision both normal. Limbs well formed. Full and perfect movement of all joints. Chest well formed. Heart and lungs normal. Chest well formed. Heart and lungs normal. No illnesses. Free from hernia, varicocele, varicose veins, haemorrhoids, inveterate or contagious skin disease. Vaccinated (left arm). Good bodily and mental health. No slight defects. No fits. Fit. A.

Military Service

Served with NZ Armed Forces Served in Army
Military District

Embarkation Information

Body on Embarkation New Zealand Expeditionary Force
Unit, Squadron, or Ship 27th Reinforcements (First Draft) New Zealand Field Engineers
Date 12 June 1917
Transport Maunganui
Embarked From Wellington Destination Plymouth, England
Other Units Served With
Last Unit Served With New Zealand Engineers

Military Awards

Campaigns Western European
Service Medals British War Medal; Victory Medal
Military Awards

Award Circumstances and Date

No information

Prisoner of War Information

Date of Capture
Where Captured and by Whom
Actions Prior to Capture
PoW Serial Number
PoW Camps
Days Interned
Liberation Date


Date 17 September 1919 Reason Termination of period of engagement.

Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses

Post-war Occupations



Date 15 November 1959 Age 67 years
Place of Death "The Poplars", Burnham (residence)
Notices Timaru Herald, 16 November 1959; Press, 16 November 1959
Memorial or Cemetery Springston Anglican Churchyard
Memorial Reference
New Zealand Memorials

Biographical Notes

Aubrey William Scott was the first-born of the eleven children (five sons and six daughters) of John and Margaret (née Evans) Scott, two of them dying very young. He was born on 16 August 1892 at Raukapuka Station. Along with many of his siblings, he was educated at Woodbury School. At the Geraldine Court in August 1913, Aubrey Scott was convicted and discharged on a charge of failing to attend parades.

Among the South Canterbury men who had been previously rejected for service, as medically unfit for active service, but who re-enlisted on 23 January 1917, was A. W. Scott, sawmiller, Geraldine, single. He had been rejected at a medical examination in April 1916 at Geraldine, on the grounds of heart trouble. He was already serving with the 8th South Canterbury Mounted Rifles. Aubrey was 24 years 5 months of age, of Church of England affiliation and worked for his father whom he named as next-of-kin – John Scott, Raukapuka, Geraldine. He was 5 feet 7½ inches tall, weighed 133 punnds, and had a chest measurement of 33½-35½ inches. His complexion was fresh, his eyes hazel, and his hair brown. His sight, hearing and colour vision were all normal, as were his heart and lungs. His limbs and chest were well formed. Being free of diseases and slight defects, having had no illnesses or fits, and in good bodily and mental health, he was classified “Fit. A”.

A “send-off” for the Temuka, Geraldine, and districts’ representatives for the 25th Reinforcements was held on 20 February 1917. The men, their relatives and friends were entertained at afternoon tea by the Ladies’ Patriotic Entertainment Committee. The men were bid farewell with best wishes. “Everyone knew they would do their duty, and when they came back they would get a hearty welcome.” Captain Hawkes (S.A.) said, “The men were going on a journey they never made before; on a journey it was not often given to a man to take. . . . . . . They were going to the front to stand for truth, liberty and righteousness, . . . . .” The men marched in procession to the railway station, headed by the Brass Band, along crowded streets. There the Mayor called for three hearty cheers. Major Kennedy reiterated that the men going away were leaving the civilian life that day to take up the life of a soldier, and that they were going to fight for the freedom of the whole human race. When the men took their seats in the train and left, they were cheered again and again, the Band playing “Soldiers of the King”. One of those who left was A. W. Scott, one of about 90 South Canterbury men on the train.

Sapper A. W. Scott embarked with the New Zealand Field Engineers in the First Draft of the 27th Reinforcements, departing from Wellington for Plymouth, England, by the “Maunganui” on 12 June 1917. He had been transferred to the Field Engineers in April. Disembarking on 16 August 1917, he marched in to the NZ Engineers Depot at Christchurch, Hampshire the next day. On 9 May 1918 he proceeded overseas to France from Christchurch, Hampshire, and was in the Field a week later. He was detached to the UK on 11 January 1919 and employed at Codford on 17 March.

Sapper A. W. Scott, of Geraldine, returned to New Zealand by the “Somerset” which was due at Lyttelton on 12 August 1919 after leaving Liverpool on 2 July. He was one of seven Geraldine soldiers who returned by this draft and were motored home from Orari. They were cordially welcomed by Major Kennedy on behalf of the Soldiers’ Entertainment Committee, and the Mayor, for the residents of the town and district, gave the men a hearty welcome home. Those who had assembled to join in the welcome heartily cheered the men. He was discharged on 17 September 1919 and awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal for his service in Europe. On returning, Aubrey resumed sawmilling, initially with his father before branching out on his own in Mid-Canterbury.

Aubrey married Edith Mary Wooding on 28 December 1921 at St Thomas’s Church, Woodbury. His sister Edith was one of the bride’s attendants and his brother Eric was best man. Aubrey and Edith would have known each other from childhood. Early in 1925 he built a new homestead just off the main road at Burnham. Mr and Mrs Aubrey Scott and family, of Burnham, spent the 1926 Christmas holidays with her mother at “Groveley”, Woodbury. Mother and daughter frequently exchanged visits. “Sawn pine timber may now be obtained direct from Mr. A. W. Scott’s sawmill, Burnham. The timber can be secured sawn to order, in any sizes, even to the special sizes required for ornamental trellis work, triangular pickets for house work and timber for any purpose. An announcement from Mr. Scott appears in our advertising columns.” [Ellesmere Guardian. 29 July 1922.] In September 1925, Mr A. W. Scott, sawmiller, Burnham, applied to the Springs County Council for permission to erect a telephone line along the south-west boundary of the Council’s reserve, to reach his property. Permission was granted.

At the December 1925 meeting of the Ellesmere County Council, a letter was received a letter from the Canterbury Automobile Association, asking that wire netting be placed in the ford at Selwyn, in line with the Main South Road. The engineer reported that the water was too deep for cars to cross. “The chairman said he understood that Mr A. W. Scott, proprietor of the Burnham sawmills, had offered to put down a temporary bridge over the narrow stream so as to provide a crossing place for cars and light traffic, at a cost of about £10. Mr Scott’s idea was to throw two or perhaps three tree-trunks across the stream and place slabs on top, which could be covered with other material. This would be much better than putting netting wire down. It would be necessary to prohibit motor lorries from crossing. The loose shingle on either side would require claying. Possibly the Automobile Association would assist financially. If a temporary bridge such as had been suggested could be provided it should be done as soon as possible. It would mean a considerable shortening of the journey for through traffic.” The engineer was instructed to get into touch with Mr Scott and if satisfactory arrangements could be made, have the temporary bridge constructed immediately. [Ellesmere Guardian. 8 December 1925.]

Mr and Mrs Scott were regular supporters of Burnham School events. At the fancy dress ball held in aid of school funds in November 1932, their daughter featured among the prize-winners – Margaret Scott (Dutch Girl) first in Girls 9-11; Audrey Scott (Flower Girl), Malcolm Scott (Bee) and Graham Scott (Dutch Boy) were also in fancy dress. Aubrey William Scott incurred a fine in the Traffic Court on 20 August 1934 – 15 shillings for overloading a lorry. He was convicted and discharged for employing an unlicensed driver. Between 14 July and 10 August 1941, at his small sawmill near Rakaia, Aubrey Scott was the victim of a wood thief. When he went to his home at Burnham at the week-ends, a man who lived near the mill surreptitiously and systematically pilfered from the mill yard. Police kept an eye on the place and on 10 August a constable spotted the “accused cycling out with several strips of timber on his bicycle.” More timber was found at his accused’s home. The accused was fined and ordered to make restitution. When the No. 10A Armed Forces Appeal Board heard appeals at Ashburton on 24 March 1943, Aubrey W. Scott, appealed for John Sheehan, sawmill hand (Rakaia), on the grounds of public interest and undue hardship. The case was adjourned sine die, to continue in Home Guard. This was not the only case in which Aubrey appealed on behalf of one of his workers.

Aubrey Scott died on 15 November 1959 at his residence, “The Poplars”, Burnham. He was 67 years old and was survived by his wife, three daughters and one son. After a service in the Springston Anglican Church, he was buried in the churchyard (St Mary’s) there. His older son, Graham Thomas Scott, had died on 27 August 1957 at St George’s Hospital, Christchurch, just 35 years old. He had served with the 2nd N.Z.E.F. and was a war pensioner. Graham, too, was buried in St Mary’s Churchyard, Springston, after a service at All Saints’ Church, Burnham. Edith died in 1976 at Burnham and buried with Aubrey. By his Will, Aubrey made provision for his wife, including “any motor-car or motor-cars which I may personally own at the date of my death.” He also made bequests to his surviving son and his three daughters, and he gave his Trustee (son Malcolm) discretion in regard to the sawmilling business. His younger son, Malcolm George Scott, carried on the sawmilling business. Graham, too, was a sawmiller before his early death.

“The Scott memorial gates at the entrance to the new Burnham Domain will be dedicated by the Rev. R. W. Blair at 2.30 p.m. next Sunday [20 December 1959]. The gates have been erected to the memory of Mr Aubrey Scott who died about six weeks ago, and to his son Mr Graham Scott who died about three years ago. Mr Aubrey Scott settled in Burnham soon after returning from World War I. He was a Justice of the Peace, chairman of the domain board, and a past chairman of the Burnham School Committee. He originally gave the gates in memory of his son, Graham, who served in the New Zealand Expeditionary Force in World War II. After Mr Scott’s death, Mrs Scott in conjunction with the Domain Board decided to dedicate the gates to both men. The new gates are made of wrought iron set in posts made of boulders and concrete. They are twelve feet wide and about three feet high. A metal plaque on one post bears the names of both men.” [Press. 18 December 1959.]

“Held to be unique in the technique of its construction, a cob house about two miles west of Burnham Military Camp has drawn the attention of the Historic Places Trust and plans are in hand to have the old place partially restored and fenced off. More than 90 years old, the house has lately suffered badly at the hands of vandals. . . . . Two feet thick, the walls were formed of laboriously-made cob bricks. . . . . This was the noted Burnham Grange, built and lived in for many years by W. P. Cross, and occupied continuously till 1952. . . . . Burnham Grange was owned by Cross for a long period, and was sold to George William Dutton. One hundred acres of it were bought by Aubrey William Scott in 1928, and a man lived in the cob house in a caretaker capacity till 1952. . . . . .” [Press. 28 January 1965. Specially written for “The Press” by J. HALKET MILLAR]

Three cousins of Aubrey are known to have served in World War One – Albert Scott (US forces), Percival George Scott and Leonard Charles Scott, all of whom belonged to South Canterbury. Yet another was called up – Oswald Murdoch Scott, of Woodbury, while Robert Leonard Scott was drawn in the ballot. As well, an uncle, Leonard Percy Scott, who was a married man with two children, was listed on the Reserve Rolls. His own son, Graham Thomas Scott, served in World War Two. George Robert Wooding, a brother, and two cousins of Edith also served in World War One.

Aubrey SCOTT’s granddaughter, Jane Watson, recounted:

“My mother Margaret June Scott who became Neilson, was one of his five children. She was the family historian who collected genealogical information on the family. His [Aubrey’s] wife was Mary Edith Scott nee Wooding. The children’s names were Graham, Margaret June, Audrey Geraldine, Malcolm and Shirley … My grandmother had four brothers, Cecil, Harold, George, and Maurice Wooding. They were farmers around the Geraldine and Woodbury area. There are still Scotts and Woodings around the Timaru and Woodbury area.

Aubrey came from a sawmilling family and when he returned from the war he worked at Orari Sawmill, probably owned by his father. There are still sawmills owned by Scotts throughout South Canterbury, including one in Timaru. When he married he at some time started his own sawmill at Rakaia, just over the river. He drove his vehicle there from Burnham. He kept meticulous records of his sawmill payments and men who worked of which I hold the historic books. He was a faithful member with his wife, of the earliest rural church on the plains, the little chapel at Burnham camp. The early ministers came there, such as A.P. Harper. My mother remembered the minister often came to lunch. They had wonderful family get-togethers and picnics on New Year’s days. My Grandmother was obviously a good cook as she was often giving out her food in photos on the picnics in the early 1920s …

[Aubrey] took photos on his trip to the war, but like so many never spoke of it. He would not allow his daughter Audrey to train as a nurse, perhaps he knew the horrors of what the nurses in the war had to bear. He kept scrupulous records of the finances at the Burnham church. His life was very busy running the sawmill and his diaries show that even Saturdays were full of jobs and accounting tasks. He was a much loved father of my mother who always said what a good man her father was. When he passed away so young at 60 years old of bowel cancer, it was a sad thing…

[Aubrey was ] a sapper who perhaps built excellent ladders (being a sawmiller) and went ahead of the army to clear the way for others to follow in battle. A good and loyal man who served his community well.”


Auckland War Memorial Museum Cenotaph Database [08 August 2013]; NZ Defence Force Personnel Records (Archives ref. AABK 18805 W5550 0102466) [15 January 2016]; School Admission record (South Canterbury Branch NZSG) [09 August 2014]; SCRoll web submission from J Watson, 24 April 2015; NZ BDM Indexes (Department of Internal Affairs) [11 August 2014]; Timaru Herald, 27 August 1913, 24 January 1917, 1, 8 & 23 August 1919, 8 January 1921, Press, 27 August 1913, 31 December 1926, 28 & 29 August 1957, 16 & 17 November 1959, 18 December 1959, 28 January 1965, Temuka Leader, 25 January 1917, 22 February 1917, 2, 7, 12 & 23 August 1919, 11 January 1921, 5 March 1925, Sun, 5 August 1919, Ellesmere Guardian, 29 July 1922, 25 September 1925, 8 December 1925, 10 November 1932, Star, 20 August 1934, Ashburton Guardian, 5 September 1941, 24 March 1943 (Papers Past) [24 August 2020; 16 March 2022; 18 & 22 August 2022]; Timaru Herald, 16 November 1959 (Timaru District Library) [06 January 2016]; Springston Anglican Cemetery headstone transcription (South Canterbury Branch records) [06 January 2016]; St Mary’s Churchyard, Springston, headstone image (Find A Grave) [23 August 2022]; Probate record (Archives NZ/Family Search [06 January 2016]; NZ Electoral Rolls ( [19 August 2022]

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