James SCOTT MM and Bar

SCOTT, James

Service Number: 607
Enlisted: 3 August 1916
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 7th Machine Gun Company
Born: Comrie, Perthshire, Scotland, 1879
Home Town: Stanthorpe, Southern Downs, Queensland
Schooling: Stirling High School, Scotland
Occupation: Miner
Died: Killed in Action, France, 22 September 1918
Cemetery: La Chapelette British and Indian Cemetery, Peronne
Plot I, Row H, Grave No. 1
Memorials: Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Stanthorpe Fallen Soldiers HR, Stanthorpe Soldiers Memorial
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World War 1 Service

3 Aug 1916: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, 607, 7th Machine Gun Company
17 Jan 1917: Involvement Private, 607, 7th Machine Gun Company
17 Jan 1917: Embarked Private, 607, 7th Machine Gun Company, RMS Omrah, Melbourne
22 Sep 1918: Involvement Private, 607

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Biography contributed by Stephen Brooks

 James Scott was the business partner and great friend of fellow Scotsman, George Alexander. They lived at Mallow, near Stanthorpe, and owned the Wylie Creek Tin Dredging Syndicate. James and George were in their mid-thirties when they enlisted five months apart in 1916. James served with distinction in the A.I.F., and was awarded the Military Medal for conspicuous bravery in the field twice in two weeks. James and George died three weeks apart in the fighting near Peronne, France, in 1918.

James Scott was born at Comrie, West Perthshire, Scotland. He attended the Stirling High School and trained as a draper. Upon migrating to Australia, James became a miner and grazier. James enlisted in Brisbane during August 1916, stating he was 31 years old, however according to Mary Alexander, George's mother, it is more likely James was 39 years old.

James initially listed his mother, Mrs. Cristiana Scott, G.P.O., St. Martins, London, as his next of kin, but she apparently died while he was on active service. In September 1917, James wrote a will leaving his estate to George Alexander, and in the case of his death, to Mary Alexander, who lived in Peterhead, Scotland.

On arrival in England James transferred to the Machine Gun Corps training base at Belton Park, Lincolnshire.

James joined the 12th Machine Gun Company in Belgium, and was in action at Messines. Private James Scott was awarded the Military Medal for bravery in the field at Passchendaele in September and October 1917.

Captain David Martin, in his recommendation, wrote: "On night of 28th/29th September 1917, at Ypres, on Westhoek-Zonnebeke Road, for conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty. The tail end of "B” Company of 16th Battalion, A.I.F. were caught in a barrage of high explosives, and 14 men became casualties. In spite of gas shells and high explosives falling nearby this man undaunted assisted an N.C.O. of 16th Battalion in dressing the casualties, and afterwards removing them to a Dressing Station.”

Two weeks later James was awarded a Bar to his Military Medal, for “remarkable bravery in carrying messages to Company HQ through intense artillery barrages and helping to get wounded away.”

In September 1918, the Australian infantry continued to pursue the retreating German forces back to the Hindenburg Line, following the successful Allied offensive that began on August 8. Private James Scott was one of the casualties. Wounded in action on September 20, he was admitted to the 12th Casualty Clearing Station the next day, listed as "dangerously wounded”. James died on 22 September.

The Commanding Officer of the 12th Casualty Clearing Station wrote: "No.607. Pte. J. Scott died here at 5 a.m. 22.9.1918 from the affects of Gunshot Wounds, both thighs, Multiple Wounds right leg and penetrating wound abdomen. He was buried at La Chapellette Military Cemetery (near Peronne) the same day. The officiating chaplain was the Rev. Hopkins (Pres) attached to this unit.”

In October 1918, Mrs. Edmund Bent, of Mallow, via Stanthorpe, wrote to Army Base Records regarding James:

"I saw in the newspaper that he had died of wounds on the 22nd September 1918. That is all we know & would be very grateful if you will give us all information regarding him. He advised us we would be the first to get word if anything happened to him as he has no next of kin. Anxiously awaiting your reply.”

The Memorial Plaque and Memorial Scroll for James Scott were sent to Mary Alexander in 1922.

In the Roll of Honour for James Scott, Mary wrote: "He was a man of high and noble character. He was in co-partnership with George Alexander, 22nd Machine Gun Coy., in a tin mining business and they were great friends. Both of whom have given their lives.”

(Edited from an article in the Courier Mail by Peter Mclady 2018)