SCOTT, Marcellius James
(Service number 18917)
|First Rank||Second Lieutenant||Last Rank|
|Date||16 January 1895||Place of Birth||Orari|
|Date||10 February 1916||Age||20 years 11 months|
|Address at Enlistment||Lyalldale, St Andrews|
|Previous Military Experience|
|Next of Kin||John SCOTT (father), Lyalldale, Saint Andrew's, Canterbury|
|Medical Information||Height 5 feet 5 inches. Weight 152 lbs. Chest measurement 34-36½ inches. Complexion dark. Eyes brown. Hair black. Sight and hearing both good. Colour vision correct. Limbs well formed. Full and perfect movement of joints. Chest well formed. Heart and lungs normal. No illnesses. Free from hernia, varicocele, varicose veins, haemorrhoids, inveterate or contagious skin disease. Vaccinated. Good bodily and mental health. No slight defects. No fits.|
|Served with||NZ Armed Forces||Served in||Army|
|Body on Embarkation||New Zealand Rifle Brigade|
|Unit, Squadron, or Ship||10th Reinforcements, 3rd Battalion, G Company|
|Date||15 November 1916|
|Embarked From||Wellington||Destination||Plymouth, England|
|Other Units Served With|
|Last Unit Served With|
|Service Medals||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|
|Date||3 March 1921||Reason|
Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses
4 October 1917 - Passchendaele - gunshot wound to ear & thigh, compound fracture of the femur. Leg amputated.
Lecturer; Department of Agriculture superintendent of the pig industry.
|Date||5 June 1943||Age||48 years|
|Place of Death||Ocean near Fiji|
|Cause||Catalina Flying Boat crash|
|Memorial or Cemetery||Timaru Cemetery memorial|
|Memorial Reference||General Section, Row 21, Plots 459 & 460|
|New Zealand Memorials|
Marcy (or Marcie), as he was known, was born James Marcellus Scott on 16 January 1895 at Orari, the ninth child of John and Bridget (née O’Connell) Scott, both Irish immigrants. He was baptised Roman Catholic on 10 February at Geraldine. He went through life as Marcellius James Scott, although both his birth and baptism were recorded as James Marcellus Scott. In 1900 when Bridget Scott acquired a parcel of land by ballot, John and Bridget moved their family from Orari to Lyalldale. Young Marcy was probably a first day pupil at Lyalldale School when it opened in 1901. There he gained his proficiency certificate in 1907. He was ranked fifth for South Canterbury in the 1907 Education Board scholarship examinations, thus qualifying for a scholarship. Two years later he gained Senior Free Place and Junior Civil Service passes, resulting in a senior scholarship of £27. He continued his education at Timaru Boys’ High School, where he met with success in 1911 – 1st in Algebra, Arithmetic, Trigonometry, Mechanics and 1st equal in Geometry, for Form VI; and in 1912 – 1st in French, Mechanics, and 1st equal in Geometry, for Form VIa. He was co-dux, head prefect and captain of the First XV in 1913. And a proud captain he would have been when Timaru High School scored their first win for 12 years over Waitaki. Scott featured throughout the match. In January 1914 he was awarded a University Scholarship, being ranked fifth in the country. In his first year at Canterbury College he gained a pass, with credit in Applied mathematics (higher) and Physics (higher), and he completed the Matriculation examination. He earned passes in Mechanical Drawing, Steam Engine, Applied Mechanics and Strength of Materials in the School of Engineering. William Scott, an older brother of Marcy, died on 4 December 1914 at Lyalldale, as the result of a tragic accident when his dray overturned. William was described as “a good and loving son and brother, a sincere friend, and a good citizen.”
An engineer residing at home at Lyalldale, Marcellius enlisted on 10 February 1916, aged 20 years 11 months. He was 5 feet 5 inches tall and weighed 152 pounds. Of dark complexion, with brown eyes and black hair, he was in good bodily and mental health. He was single and nominated his father John Scott of Lyalldale as his next-of-kin. A non-commissioned officer, he left Timaru with the Infantry to go into training for the Fifteenth Reinforcements on 9 February 1916. At Trentham he was assigned to the Infantry, 15th Reinforcements, H Company, with the rank of Corporal, soon after to be Sergeant. Meanwhile he continued his university studies, qualifying in May 1916 in First Professional for the degree of Bachelor of Engineering (Civil), and also in Electrical. In July word was received that M. J. Scott, Sergeant-Major of H Company, 15th Reinforcements, had been appointed Second Lieutenant and posted to the 19th Reinforcements. C.S.M. M. J. Scott was among those who passed and obtained marks at the special examinations for first appointment to a commission held in the Reinforcement Camps in June and July 1916. At the same time his older brother Andrew Scott was promoted from Private to Corporal and sailed with the 15th Reinforcements. As Marcellius J. Scott was about to proceed on active service he was appointed to the New Zealand Rifle Brigade, effective from 9 November. He was one of the company officers overseeing the 19th Reinforcements on the parade ground at Trentham Camp.
Second Lieutenant M. J. Scott embarked on 15 November 1916 per the Maunganui with the New Zealand Rifle Brigade, leaving from Wellington for Plymouth, England. He marched into Sling on 5 March 1917 and was posted to D Company., before joining the 4th NZ Infantry Brigade at Codford. In May 1917 he proceeded to France, having been transferred from the Rifle Brigade to the Canterbury Regiment with seniority, and on 14 August he was detached to the School of Instruction for a month. On 12 October 1917 the newspapers printed a cabled hospital report – Marcy Scott had been wounded on 4 October at Passchendaele. Having suffered a gunshot wound to the ear and to the thigh which caused a compound fracture of the femur, he was admitted in quick succession to the Australian Field Ambulance, the Casualty Clearing Station and the No. 2 British Red Cross Hospital at Rouen. Later in the month it was reported that he was in hospital and dangerously ill. As of 21 October he was still dangerously ill but slightly improved. By mid November his father had received word that he had been removed from the dangerously ill to the seriously ill list on 7 November. Two weeks later he was removed from the seriously ill list and admitted to the New Zealand General Hospital at Brockenhurst. He was employed at the hospital on 3 December. Despite the severity and effects of his wounds, no further reports appeared in the newspapers.
Having been absent from his duty, off duty, for four months, he was seconded under provisions of NZEF Regulation 34 on 4 February 1918. He was transferred to the New Zealand General Hospital at Walton-on-Thames, where he convalesced. M. J. Scott was to lieutenant from 11 May 1918. On 25 October 1918 he was discharged from Walton to Cambridge University. He lost his left leg – it was amputated at the thigh in October 1918. He was to embark for New Zealand after the fitting of an artificial limb. He was, however, readmitted to Walton-on-Thames Hospital in December. In March 1919 he was found unfit for any service by the Medical Board and was again discharged to Cambridge University. On 6 October 1919 he was to be discharged in the United Kingdom, on the grounds of being medically unfit, and granted leave until March 1920. The artificial limb was fitted at St Thomas Hospital in March 1920.
Marcellius Scott was one of the New Zealand soldiers who applied for and was awarded a scholarship to British universities in 1919. These scholarships gave the recipients exceptional opportunities to acquire knowledge in their chosen fields. Marcy’s scholarship was in agriculture. Also in 1919 in Surrey he married Ada Jessie Whitta, an Ashburton, New Zealand, born nurse who served on the Maheno in World War I. Marcellius and Ada met when he was convalescing at Brockenhurst in England. Their son, John Vivian Scott, was born the following year at Cambridge, England. As of April 1920 Lieutenant M. J. Scott (N.Z.R.B.) was still at the Agricultural School at Jesus College, Cambridge, where later in the year he gained Agriculture and Natural Science Honours. He obtained a B.A. (Agric.) diploma in Soil Science, and was granted an A.I.C. (Associate Institute of Chemistry). At Cambridge he was a member of the Heitiki Club, which was formed solely to make the New Zealanders acquainted with one another. After his study at Cambridge he spent five months at the Rothamstead Experimental Station.
M. J. Scott, 18917, took his discharge in England on 3 March 1921. He returned to New Zealand as his father was ill. Unfortunately John Scott died 13 December 1921, a few weeks before Marcy and his family reached home. For his war service – in Western Europe, four years and 109 days overseas - he was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.
Had he not returned to New Zealand, Marcy was intending to take a position in Jamaica. After their return to New Zealand, Marcy lectured at Lincoln College, as a chemist and soil scientist. M. J. Scott M.A. led a session in Water Conservation in Soil at a very successful Winter Farm School conducted by the Department of Agriculture at Ashburton in April 1923. The following month, at a lively Canterbury College capping ceremony he graduated with a Bachelor of Science. Before joining the NZEF he had completed the first section of his B.Sc. In a 1923 list of Canterbury College men who had served 1914-1918 there was the name of Scott M. J., Lieutenant. In 1925 the journal of Agriculture published an instructive article by Mr M. J. Scott, B.A., B.Sc., A.I.C., on trials conducted on making artificial manure on the farm. He wrote another article in 1928, this time on the ‘Production and Results of Feeding Trials’ for pigs. He spoke often, to groups far and wide and on radio, on farming issues, for example “Grain Feeding for Sheep”. He did, however, incur a small fine, in 1936, for exposing sheep infected with lice at the Pleasant Point sale yards. He had bought a farm at Levels which was managed by his brother Jack.
In Christchurch he joined the Christchurch branch of the Timaru High School Old Boys’ Association, being elected vice-president in 1925 and in subsequent years. He was the one to propose the toast of “The School” at the annual reunion dinner in 1934, talking in very complimentary terms of the school. That year he was elected president, a position he held for some time. He engaged in many other aspects of Lincoln life and did not let his disability hinder him. In December 1922 he was a starter and a timekeeper at the College sports. He coached the First XV at Lincoln and represented the College on the Ellesmere Rugby Sub-union, and was elected vice-president in 1925 and to the postponement committee and as a selector. Mr and Mrs Scott were frequent attendees at district cabarets, balls and social functions. He also served as secretary on the Lincoln School Committee. Both Mr and Mrs Scott gave prizes for Lincoln School, where both daughters, Winifred and Eleanor, performed well in school work and in entertaining, and in 1934 Winifred was dux. He was elected president of the Christchurch Branch of the New Zealand Institute of Chemistry. He was involved in yachting and presented a trophy, in amateur swimming, and in church and lodge affairs, and was a member of the Philosophical Society.
After Marcy’s 14 years at Lincoln, 1936 brought an appointment to the civil service in Wellington, in the newly created position of superintendent of the pig industry for the Department of Agriculture. Residents and friends from Lincoln and surrounding districts gathered in the public hall to bid farewell to Mr and Mrs Scott and family. They were wished every success in their new home. Mrs Scott was presented with a toilet set, Mr Scott with a travelling rug, Misses Eleanor and Winifred Scott with bedroom clocks and Master John Scott with a fountain pen. A presentation was also made at a farewell function arranged by the Lincoln School Committee. A fountain pen and a cigarette case were presented to Mr M. J. Scott on 26 November at Lincoln College. The leader of the Farmers’ Union said that his work had been greatly appreciated and had been of great value to farmers, adding that it was fitting that important positions should be filled by the best qualified men available. Appreciation was expressed for the loyal service given to the Tai Tapu branch of the Women’s Division by Mrs Scott, who was given gifts as tokens of good wishes. The two Scott girls also contributed songs and dance items. The parishioners of the Lincoln Roman Catholic Church also met to say good-bye and make a presentation to Mr and Mrs Scott and family. The Rev. Father spoke of the good work done by Mr Scott as a church member, and as secretary of the parish committee.
With the appointment of Marcy Scott, the Government was keen to improve the pig industry. He was to organise a staff of instructors and committees to assist him in making a thorough survey of the industry. He became very prominent right throughout the country, often giving talks and showing films on the pig industry, and judging at shows. In Wellington, he also managed a fine of 10 shillings for a breach of the parking regulations. He chaired a committee set up by the Government to advise the pig industry on the best methods for increasing output. And, in June 1939, he especially congratulated the Whangarei A. and P. Society upon spreading its efforts so widely in getting different breeders to display side by side “in a wonderful exhibition of variety”. When World War II broke out, Marcy was charged with increasing food production for export and for New Zealand soldiers. In 1942-1943 he was supervising organiser for primary production councils throughout the country.
Then disaster struck. Marcellius James Scott died tragically on 5 June 1943, aged 48 years, in a Catalina Flying Boat crash. His body and those of the seven crew members and seven other passengers were never found. One of the crew was Pilot Officer D. E. Wood, an ex-pupil of Timaru Boys’ High School whose parents still lived in Timaru. The flying boat of the Royal New Zealand Air Force was reported missing on a sea flight from Fiji to New Zealand on 5 June. Although extensive sea and air searches were carried out, only some wreckage was recovered from Dravuni Island near Suva, and all on board were classified as “missing believed killed”. It was established that the flying boat struck the sea during darkness and was broken by the impact. The Prime Minister expressed his deepest sympathy and that of the Government with the relatives. Marcy was returning from a work-related visit to Tonga. He had left on this special mission on 30 April.
Marcy Scott was survived by his wife and his three children – John who was also educated at Timaru Boys’ High School and was serving in World War II at the time of his father’s death, Winifred and Eleanor. He had taken out life insurance, held shares in several companies, and had made provision for his family, drawing up a will in 1934. He is remembered on his parents’ headstone in the Timaru Cemetery, as is his wife. A brave, active and well educated man lost too soon. A photograph of Marcellius James Scott is printed in “Onward: Portraits of the NZEF”, Volume 3.
Auckland War Memorial Museum Cenotaph Database [08 August 2013; 30 November 2018]; NZ Defence Force Personnel Records (Archives ref. AABK 18805 W5553 0102679) [25 October 2015]; Timaru Herald, 20 December 1907, 25 January 1908, 17 January 1910, 9 February 1910, 15 December 1910, 16 December 1911, 12 December 1912, 21 & 25 July 1913, 12 December 1913, 2 November 1914, 7 & 9 December 1914, 20 January 1915, 9 February 1916, 31 July 1916, 12 October 1917, 2, 15 & 29 November 1917, Evening Post, 17 January 1914, 14 March 1916, 25 August 1916, 9 November 1916, 21 February 1920, 8 January 1921, 20 September 1938, New Zealand Tablet, 24 December 1914, Press, 30 October 1915, 1 May 1916, 27 June 1917, 7 June 1919, 10 April 1920, 7 December 1920, 12 April 1922, 19 December 1922, 12 & 14 May 1923, 8 August 1923, 28 April 1925, 24 September 1926, 26 December 1929, 26 December 1929, 28 March 1930, 6 August 1934, 24 July 1935, 1 May 1936, 29 October 1936, 28 November 1936, 4 October 1939, 7 & 8 June 1943, 17 June 1943, New Zealand Times, 10 April 1916, 14 November 1916, Dominion, 1 May 1916, 12 December 1916, Otago Daily Times, 28 August 1916, 17 June 1943, Star, 30 October 1917, Temuka Leader, 7 April 1923, Ellesmere Guardian, 6 March 1923, 7 April 1925, 8 November 1929, 27 November 1936 [x 2], 26 May 1939, New Zealand Herald, 22 October 1936, North Canterbury Gazette, 26 January 1937, Northern Advocate, 28 June 1939, 7 June 1943, Auckland Star, 7 & 17 June 1943 [x 2] (Papers Past) [11 August 2014; 01 September 2014; 10 November 2014; 30 November 2018; 01, 02, 03 & 04 December 2018]; NZ BDM Indexes (Department of Internal Affairs); Christchurch Catholic Diocese Baptisms Index CD (held by South Canterbury Branch NZSG) [10 May 2015]; Probate record (Archives NZ/FamilySearch) [25 June 2016]; England BDM Indexes (FreeBDM) [30 October 2015]; NZ Electoral Rolls (ancestry.com.au) [30 October 2015]; “Onward: Portraits of the NZEF” Volume 3 (held by the South Canterbury Branch NZSG)
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Researched and Written by
Teresa Scott, SC brnach NZSG
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