Robert SCOBIE MiD

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SCOBIE, Robert

Service Number: Officer
Enlisted: 12 March 1901
Last Rank: Lieutenant Colonel
Last Unit: 2nd Infantry Battalion
Born: West Maitland, New South Wales, Australia, 31 March 1871
Home Town: West Maitland, Maitland, New South Wales
Schooling: Maitland Public School and Maitland Boy's High School, New South Wales, Australia
Occupation: Farmer
Died: Killed In Action, Gallipoli, 6 August 1915, aged 44 years
Cemetery: Lone Pine Cemetery, ANZAC
Memorials: Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Maitland High School Roll of Honour
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Boer War Service

12 Mar 1901: Enlisted Australian and Colonial Military Forces (Boer War / Boxer Rebellion), Lieutenant, 3rd New South Wales Mounted Rifles
15 Mar 1901: Embarked Australian and Colonial Military Forces (Boer War / Boxer Rebellion), Lieutenant, 3rd New South Wales Mounted Rifles, SS Maplemore, Sydney for Port Elizabeth - disembarking 12 April 1901
4 May 1902: Embarked Australian and Colonial Military Forces (Boer War / Boxer Rebellion), Lieutenant, 3rd New South Wales Mounted Rifles, SS Aurania, Capetown for return to Australia - disembarking Sydney 3 June 1902
3 Jun 1902: Discharged Australian and Colonial Military Forces (Boer War / Boxer Rebellion), Lieutenant, 3rd New South Wales Mounted Rifles

Peacetime

17 Sep 1914: Enlisted AIF WW1, Kensington, NSW

World War 1 Service

18 Oct 1914: Involvement AIF WW1, Major, 2nd Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
18 Oct 1914: Embarked AIF WW1, Major, 2nd Infantry Battalion, HMAT Suffolk, Sydney
25 Apr 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Major, SN Officer, 2nd Infantry Battalion, 'ANZAC' / Gallipoli
14 Jul 1915: Promoted AIF WW1, Lieutenant Colonel, 2nd Infantry Battalion
6 Aug 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Lieutenant Colonel, SN Officer, 2nd Infantry Battalion, The August Offensive - Lone Pine, Suvla Bay, Sari Bair, The Nek and Hill 60 - Gallipoli

Boer War Service

Date unknown: Involvement AIF WW1, Lieutenant, SN Officer, 3rd New South Wales Mounted Rifles

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Biography

Lieutenant Colonel Robert Scobie, VD, was killed commanding the 2nd Battalion at Lone Pine.  

He was the second CO of the 2nd Battalion to die in action at Gallipoli, having succeeded his friend Lieutenant Colonel George Braund when he had been killed, and he was one among many Commanding Officers across the ANZAC force to die leading from the front.

Following is an extract of the Maitland Mercury (NSW), 28 August 1915, p 11 concerning Lieutenant Colonel Robert Scobie, VD (Volunteer Decoration)

Official messages received last week went to show that Maitland district men were in the thick of the fighting a few days ago at Gallipoli, that gained for the Australians and New Zealanders considerable progress on the Peninsula. Lieut.-Colonel Robert Scobie and Lieut. Rupert Crudick were killed, Captain Harold Leslie Nash is reported as missing, and Lieuts. Cotton and Garnham and Private Roy Dransfieid were wounded.

The sad intelligence concerning Lieut. Colonel Scobie, who was killed in action between August 6 and 8, was transmitted to the Rev. A. S. McCook, by the Defence authorities, who requested him to inform Mrs. Scobie and convey the deep regret felt in the loss that she and the army had sustained in the death of an officer. The late Lieut.-Col. Scobie was a son of the late Mr. Robert Scobie, who represented Maitland for a term in the State parliament, and was a native of Oakhampton.

He was 44 years of age, and was educated at the Public School and the Boys' High School, and later joined his father and uncles in farming, orchard, and vigneron work at 'The Gardens,' Oakhampton. From his youth he took a very keen interest in military matters, and musketry, and was a fine stamp of officer, always cool, self-reliant, and fearless, a man who inspired the confidence of his men, who were so devoted to him that they would have followed him anywhere.

He joined the old 4th Regiment, and received his first commission as a 2nd Lieut, in 1900. In 1903 he was made a Lieutenant, and was promoted to Captain in 1908. In 1912 he was transferred to the 14th (Hunter River Infantry), being then the senior captain of the regiment, and when that regiment, consequent on the drafting into the militia of many of the cadets, was split up into the 13th and 14th Regiments, he attained to the rank of second in command to Major Nash of the lastnamed regiment. He saw service in the Boer war, 1901-2 going as lieutenant and being promoted to captain. He was in engagements in Cape Colony, Transvaal and Orange River Colony, and received the Queen's medal with five clasps.

When the present war broke out, and an appeal was made to Australians, he was one of the first to volunteer and went away with the First Expeditionary Force, as second in command, with the rank of major, to Lieut.-Colonel Braund, of the Second Battalion. He was taken ill in Egypt with pneumonia, and, though not thoroughly recovered, insisted on accompanying his battalion at the historic landing at Gallipoli. He was wounded early in the engagement, a bullet chipping a piece off his eyebrow, and injuring his nose, and he was afterwards twice operated upon in hospital in Egypt. He was in the thick of the engagement, for a bullet also cut through the lace of his puttees, and another passed through the peak of his cap. He also lost his chief, Lieut.-Colonel Braund, and other brother officers.

Just when he returned to the Dardanelles is not known, but latest news indicated that he expected to be in action shortly. When he did rejoin, it was apparently to take command of the battalion. He was a good shot, and took a prominent part in encouraging rifle shooting. He was elected one of the official members of the New South Wales Rifle Association, and was a member of the executive of the Northern District Rifle Clubs Union. Straightforward and honourable, the late Lieut.-Colonel Scobie was esteemed by a large circle of friends, whose deepest sympathy will go out to his widow and three little children, his aged mother, and other members of the family.

Robert Scobie was named in an eye witness account of the fighting at Lone Pine by one of his soldiers, a newly arrived reinforcement named James Larkins, from Werris Creek, who in a letter home to his mother attributes Robert Scobie with saving his life  - CLICK HERE (/explore/people/351265).  It suggests Robert Scobie died on the 7th August rather than the 6th as is officially recorded.

 

James Larkins' account matches another further reinforcing the view that Scobie died on the 7th August:

'The Turks attacked and attacked, and at 1 p.m. the following day, the 7th, made a special effort at all points. Scobie, with a wounded arm hanging in a sling, passed along the whole of the Second's position, and spoke to practically every man. ...From one post came an urgent call for more men to replace the heavy casualties. Scobie hurried along, as he always did, to the most threatened point, his intention being to see if this point was worth holding for the sacrifices being made, or to send in more men, if he decided in favour of holding. After viewing the position, he ordered a retirement of about 30 yards out of the communication trench that had been held so valiantly for such a time, and was standing in the sap while the men withdrew, when he was killed. The withdrawal was delayed then until his body was removed. It was finally sent to the beach for burial close to his old comrade, Braund.' (Herrod, Lt. Col. E.E. 'Trainers of Anzac: Braund and Scobie.' Reveille Vol.4 No.7; 31 Mar 1931 p29, 86-7)

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