SCOTT, Valentine
(Service number 30148)

Aliases Known as Val
First Rank Corporal Last Rank Squadron Quartermaster Sergeant


Date 6 May 1881 Place of Birth Port Chalmers, Otago

Enlistment Information

Date Age
Address at Enlistment Wellington
Occupation Newspaper chief reporter
Previous Military Experience
Marital Status Married
Next of Kin
Medical Information

Military Service

Served with NZ Expeditionary Force Served in Base Records Office
Military District

Embarkation Information

Body on Embarkation
Unit, Squadron, or Ship
Embarked From Destination
Other Units Served With
Last Unit Served With Home Service Section of NZEF

Military Awards

Service Medals
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 Reason

Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses

Post-war Occupations

Officer in Charge of War Graves (Department of Internal Affairs)


Date 14 June 1929 Age 48 years
Place of Death Wellington Hospital, Wellington
Cause Pneumonia
Notices Timaru Herald, 15 June 1929; Evening Post, 15 June 1929
Memorial or Cemetery Karori Cemetery, Wellington
Memorial Reference Soldiers Section, Plot 31
New Zealand Memorials

Biographical Notes

Valentine Scott was born on 6 May 1881 at Port Chalmers near Dunedin, and was the only child of English-born Harry and Ellen (Helen) Elizabeth (née Shirtcliff) Scott. He was born Valentine Shirtcliff, to Ellen’s sister, and was brought up (adopted?) by Harry and Ellen. He was admitted to Timaru Main School in March 1895, after having been schooled in Sydney. Although the Main School register recorded his destination as Australia on 19 September 1895, he actually transferred to Featherston School on 1 October 1895, his guardian being Mr H. J. Unwin (an uncle of his mother). Perhaps his parents were in Australia. At the end of the 1896 school year he went to Auckland. While at Featherston he was successful in Freehand in the third grade drawing examination conducted by the Technical School (Wellington). Val Scott, only son of Mr H. Scott, Timaru, married Annie Louise Victoria Schlierike on 4 October 1910 at All Saints’ Church, Palmerston North. Harry and Ellen were living in Timaru again from at least 1908.

On 10 October 1910, during an interval in the rehearsal of “Boccaccio”, Mr Val Scott was the recipient of a present from the members of the Timaru Operatic Society - a handsome silver teapot, suitably engraved, to mark the occasion of his marriage. He was at that time the honorary secretary of the society. He took the part of Lotteringhi (a Bibulous Cooper), the opera being performed on 22nd and 23rd November in the Theatre Royal. His father may have been the honorary business manager. When the opera was to be staged in the Oamaru Opera House on 16 December, both the Oamaru Mail and the North Otago Times carried the review from the Timaru Post. The Timaru Post writes as follows: “The dancing of . . . . in the first act was most graceful and attractive. Of the comedians, the inimitable Mr Will Foster was facile princeps, his clever interpretation of his character and droll manner provoking the audience to shrieks of laughter. Very little behind Mr Foster in the cleverness of his humour and interpretation of his part was Mr Val Scott, in the character of Lotteronghi, the bibulous! cooper. Mr Scott also made use of his fine voice to advantage. The costumes for the third act raised the audience to the pitch of enthusiasm, such a rich display of color and fashions natural to the ladies and gentlemen of title and wealth to be found about a duke’s palace having rarely been seen on the stage of the Theatre Royal since its erection.” The opera was also presented at Geraldine on 9 February 1911 in aid of the Geraldine District Brass Band funds. “The. Timaru Society made a great hit with this opera in Timaru, and if all goes well, are certain of a bumper house at Geraldine.” Even though the Volunteer Hall was not an ideal venue, the Temuka Leader gave a rave review. “The comic element of the opera was in very capable hands — in. fact, it could not have been sustained much better by professionals. It was a toss up between. Mr Will Foster and Mr Val. Scott as to which of the pair was the funniest man on the boards. Mr Will Foster took the part of the drunken olive-grower, Lambertuccio, who always had “Sich an ’ead ache,” and fairly brought down the house with his faithful representation of a man who had been at the cups too long. Mr Val. Scott as Lotteringhi, the bibulous cooper, was a host in himself, particularly in the scene at the cooperage.”

In 1911, and again in 1914, Valentine was a clerk residing with his parents in Wilson Street, Timaru. But no Annie; she was in Petone in 1914. Val. offered his talents on several occasions in 1911. He was in a party of Timaru entertainers who travelled to Geraldine for the St Patrick’s concert (March). Mr Val. Scott was most successful with his humorous songs “Let me sleep” and “He started in a very small way”. The programme closed with the inimitable singing of “Harrigan” by Mr Val. Scott, and in response to an encore he told afew funny stories, with a local application. At a concert at Pareora in June in aid the Anglican Sunday School, he ���gave a comic song in his usual telling manner”. In October he was the stage manager for the first entertainment under the auspices of the Caroline Bay Association. It was reported that the committee made a wise selection in choosing him for the role. A favourite amateur, he also performed and was in rare good voice. His best songs “You, You. You”, and “You Needn’t Wink,” were full of humour, and were enhanced by original and clever patter.

A north-west gale raged in South Canterbury for several hours on 13 February 1913. A big tree in the park at Timaru snapped off at the ground. A few people were watching a cricket match were on the seats round the trunk. All escaped harm except Mr Val. Scott who was struck by the falling tree and had to be taken to hospital with a broken thigh.

In March 1916, Mr Val. Scott, the chief reporter on the “Timaru Post”, was appointed assistant correspondence clerk in the Base Records Office at Wellington. He was given the rank of Corporal, attached to the Expeditionary Forces. He commenced his duties on 1st April. “Yesterday afternoon Mr V. Scott, of the literary staff of the “Timaru Post” left by the second express for Wellington to take up a position in the Base Records Office there. He was given a hearty send-off at the railway station by a number of friends who assembled for that purpose. On Thursday night Mr Scott was entertained at dinner in the Grosvenor Hotel by a large gathering of personal friends, when he was presented with a silver cigarette case, the gift being accompanied by all manner of good wishes. Yesterday afternoon Mr Scott was met by members of the “Post” staff, who gave him a hearty farewell and presented him with a very comfortable travelling rug. The managing editor, Mr C. East, in making the presentation, spoke very highly of the work done by Mr Scott as a member of the staff of the “Timaru Post,” and expressed the hope that before long the State would able to relinquish its claim on his services and permit him to return to the position he had filled so well in Timaru.” [Timaru Herald. 1 April 1916.] So, from April 1916, Valentine Scott lived in Wellington. In April 1917, Valentine Scott, journalist, Wilson Street, Timaru, was one of 358 names drawn in the ballot for the South Canterbury Military District to fill vacancies in the 30th Reinforcements. He had already been listed on the 1916 Reserve Rolls.

For some time things were not good between Valentine and his wife Annie. In November 1917, Annie Louisa Victoria Scott petitioned for divorce from Valentine Scott on the ground of desertion. Correspondence showed that that the respondent refused to live with his wife or to have anything to do with her. He had not complied with an order for 15 shillings per week made in 1912, and she had not seen him since then. A decree nisi was granted, with costs on the lowest scale against the respondent. It was reported that, after their marriage in 1910, Annie and Valentine had been living at Timaru for eight months with his parents, when she went to Palmerston North on the death of a brother, and while there underwent a serious operation. When the account was sent to the respondent for this, he wrote: “I am so heartily sick of the whole thing that I am thoroughly determined not to have you back again.” As soon as she was able to travel she returned to Timaru, but her husband refused to see her. In 1912 she had an interview with him, and he refused to provide for her, saying he was in debt. She took proceedings against him, and a maintenance older was made against him for 15s a week, which he neglected to obey. Since 1913 she had been living at Petone, gaining her living by dressmaking.

Valentine married again, this time to Julia Boyle on 24 September 1918. They had three sons – Jack Valentine Scott, Clifford Eric Scott and Ian Joseph Scott. Valentine's first wife, Annie, also remarried in 1918. Early in 1919 Valentine was appointed chief correspondence clerk at Base Records, which meant a permanent appointment to the Public Service. At the twelfth annual meeting of the Kia Toa Bowling Club, held in July 1919, the executive felt “that the club having surmounted the difficulties prevailing throughout the war period, members may now look forward to a dawn of a new era in the history of the Kia Toa Club in particular and in bowling generally.” After the signing of the armistice the club had welcomed back two members who had been some months in camp. “Other members of the club who will now return to civil life, it is pleasant to know in health and strength, after serving their country in the great war are Mr G. Dawson, Mr Val. Scott and Mr W. Annand.”

Valentine Scott effectively served in the Home Service Section during World War One. But he was not done with the war after the Armistice. As of May 1923, when he visited Timaru and Oamaru, he was the officer in charge the War Graves Division, Inland Affairs, Wellington. Following his father’s death in May 1926, Val Scott (Department of Internal Affairs) visited his mother, Mrs H. Scott, the Bungalow, Timaru. In May 1928, Mrs Val. Scott, the War Graves Commissioner, Internal Affairs Department, was in Christchurch to implement the scheme to establish the Returned Soldiers’ Cemetery at Bromley. “The plot will be on the lines of the war graves in France and similar to the beautiful little plot tor soldiers’ graves in Karori Cemetery, Wcllington.” [Press. 25 May 1928.] The Timaru Herald of 3 June 1929 reported – “A portion of the Timaru Cemetery will be set aside in the near future, as has been done in other centres throughout the Dominion for the purpose of a soldiers’ burial ground. The request was made by the South Canterbury Branch of the Returned Soldiers’ Association, and a site has been selected by Mr Val. Scott, officer in charge of the War Graves Division of the Department of Internal Affairs. The selection will be subject to the approval of the Timaru Cemetery Board.”

Not two weeks later, Valentine (Val.) Scott died – on 14 June 1929 of pneumonia at Wellington Hospital, aged 48 years. A grandson, Gary Scott, commented that Valentine's influenza was caught at a rugby match at the Eastbourne Recreation Ground. He was buried in the Soldiers’ Cemetery, Karori, a services stone marking his grave. “The funeral of Mr. Val Scott, officer in charge of the War Graves branch of the Internal Affairs Department, who died yesterday, will take place tomorrow afternoon. Mr. Scott, though not a returned soldier, is to be buried in the Soldiers’ Cemetery at Karori, at the request of the R.S.A., as an appreciation of his work in connection with soldiers’ graves throughout the Dominion.” Mr Scott, officer in charge of the War Graves branch of the Department of Internal Affairs, “filled his position with distinction, and carried out his duties with a conscientiousness that made him a valued officer of the Department.” Members of the Eastbourne Bowling Club, where he was the secretary, were invited to attend his funeral. The Wellington Returned Soldiers’ Association sent a letter of sympathy to Mrs. Scott, widow of Mr. V. Scott (who rendered splendid service in connection with the Government War Graves Department). The association would always revere his memory.

The funeral of the late Mr. V. Scott, late officer in charge of New Zealand War Graves, and hon. secretary of the Eastbourne Bowling Club, “was a large and representative one, being attended by officers from various Government Departments, including the many officers of the Department of Internal Affairs to which Mr. Scott was attached. There was also a very large gathering of bowlers, including representatives of the Wellington Centre, the various affiliated clubs, and almost every member of the Eastbourne Bowling Club. The pallbearers were two returned soldiers, two members of the executive of the Eastbourne Bowling Club, a representative of the Department of Internal Affairs, and Mr. L. W. Cozens, of the Public Works Department. The late Mr. Scott was never happier than when working for other people’s enjoyment, and among the many floral tributes sent, none was more significant than one sent by the crews of the Eastbourne ferry boats, who came in contact with Mr. Scott’s genial personality during his daily trips across the harbour.” At the annual meeting of the Eastbourne Bowling Club, held later in June 1929, the chairman feelingly referred to the death of Mr. Val. Scott, the late secretary, who was a valued officer, and a keen bowler. A motion of sympathy was passed, members standing in silence.”

Julia Scott died in October 1956 and was buried at Karori. Valentine’s mother moved to Wellington in the late 1930s and resided with her daughter-in-law until her death in July 1947. She had signed her Will just a month before Valentine died. Jack Valentine Scott, the eldest son of Val and Julia, served in World War Two.

A descendant, Gary Scott, also recounted:

“Valentine was my grandfather - after WW1 he worked for sometime as a photographer for the NZ Govt - this was in the early 1920’s as best I can ascertain - his work took him up and down the country documenting the growing nation - he was an accomplished photographer with a keen eye, and he took some fantastic 8x10 black and white photographs of subjects that included, amongst other things, Kauri trees in the Far North, Mt Ngaurahoe erupting, The Southern Glaciers - he was also capable of producing some interesting ‘trick shots’ including one memorable one that depicted himself playing a hand of cards with 4 other gentlemen - all of whom, upon closer inspection, were also himself. Valentine married Julia Doyle and had 3 sons by her, Jack, Clifford, & Ian (all 3 sons now sadly deceased). The family lived at Oroua St, Eastbourne.”


Auckland War Memorial Museum Cenotaph Database [10 November 2016]; School Admission records (South Canterbury & Wairarapa branches NZSG) [10 November 2016]; NZ Times, 4 November 1896, NZ Mail, 5 November 1896, Timaru Herald, 11 & 12 October 1910, 19 November 1910, 19 June 1911, 27 & 31 October 1911, 14 February 1913, 21 March 1916, 1 April 1916, 18 April 1917, 14 January 1919, 14 July 1919, 16 May 1923, 3 & 15 June 1929, Manawatu Standard, 19 October 1910, Oamaru Mail, 15 December 1910, North Otago Times, 15 December 1915, 21 March 1916, Temuka Leader, 14 January 1911, 11 February 1911, 21 March 1911, Dominion, 14 February 1913, Press, 21 March 1916, 15 January 1919, 21 May 1926, 25 May 1928, Sun, 21 March 1916, 17 April 1917, Evening Post, 21 March 1916, 17 November 1917, 14 June 1929, 15 June 1929 [x 3], 17 June 1929, 26 June 1929, Colonist, 21 March 1916, NZ Times, 19 November 1917, NZ Truth, 1 December 1917 (Papers Past) [10 November 2016; 19 May 2017; 08 October 2021; 16 & 26 August 2022]; Karori Cemetery headstone image & burial records (Wellington City Council) [19 May 2017]; SCRoll submission from Gary Scott, 4 March 2018

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