The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (6379) Private Reginald Scott, 19th Battalion, AIF, Firat World War.

Place Europe: Belgium, Flanders, West-Vlaanderen, Poelkapelle
Accession Number AWM2016.2.309
Collection type Film
Object type Last Post film
Physical description 16:9
Maker Australian War Memorial
Place made Australia: Australian Capital Territory, Canberra, Campbell
Date made 4 November 2016
Access Open
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918
Copyright Item copyright: © Australian War Memorial
Creative Commons License This item is licensed under CC BY-NC
Copying Provisions Copy provided for personal non-commercial use
Description

The Last Post Ceremony is presented in the Commemorative area of the Australian War Memorial each day. The ceremony commemorates more than 102,000 Australians who have given their lives in war and other operations and whose names are recorded on the Roll of Honour. At each ceremony the story behind one of the names on the Roll of Honour is told. Hosted by Charis May, the story for this day was on (6379) Private Reginald Scott, 19th Battalion, AIF, Firat World War.

Speech transcript

6379 Private Reginald Scott, 19th Battalion, AIF
KIA 4 November 1917
No photograph in collection

Story delivered 4 November 2016

Today we remember and pay tribute to Private Reginald James Scott, who was killed fighting in Belgium during the First World War.

Reginald Scott was born in 1889, one of four children of Henry and Mary Scott who lived in the Sydney suburb of Neutral Bay. Affectionately known as “Bob”, he attended Marist College in North Sydney and worked as a marine engineer for Mort’s Dock Shipyard in Balmain in the years before the First World War.

Scott enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force at Victoria Barracks in October 1916. He trained at the Royal Australian Showgrounds at Moore Park and embarked for the training camps in England with a reinforcement group for the 19th Battalion. After several months in training on the Salisbury Plains in Wiltshire, he sailed for the fighting in France and joined the 19th Battalion in May 1917. The battalion was resting, having come out of the line from bitter fighting at Bullecourt and replenishing its losses with reinforcements.

As the 19th Battalion was brought up to strength, the focus of British operations shifted north into Belgium, where the intention was to break out of the Ypres Salient. By driving north towards the village of Passchendaele, the British planned to reclaim the Belgian coast line and capture the German submarine pens threatening the English Channel.

After several weeks of bombarding the German lines, the 19th Battalion participated in the breakout attack down the Menin Road on 20 September which enabled the British to “bite and hold” a significant portion of the German defences in their gradual approach to Passchendaele. Over the following weeks the Australian infantry made a number of similar attacks that put them within short distance of their intended objectives.

By October torrential rain and months of shell-fire had turned the terrain into a quagmire of thick, glutinous mud, stalling the attacks that followed. Scott was involved in the costly and unsuccessful attack at Poelcapelle on 9 October, and spent the following weeks in the Passchendale area holding the modest gains as German artillery constantly shelled their positions.

Eight weeks of fighting had cost the Australians more than 36,000 casualties. By November they were preparing to hand over to the Canadians, but on 4 November 1917, just before the battalion was relieved from the line near Westhoek, a German 5.9-inch shell landed on top of the dug-out where Private Scott was resting with members of his platoon. Scott was instantly killed in the explosion.

Aged 27, he was buried nearby but his grave was destroyed in subsequent fighting. Today he is commemorated alongside the more than 6,000 Australian troops killed in Belgium who have no known graves. Private Scott was a well-liked member of the battalion and was sorely missed by his family and friends. According to his comrades, he was “one of the best”.

Reginald Scott is listed on the Roll of Honour on my right, among more than 60,000 Australians who died while serving in the First World War.

His is just one of the many stories of service and sacrifice told here at the Australian War Memorial. We now remember Private Reginald Scott, who gave his life for us, for our freedoms, and in the hope of a better world.

Aaron Pegram
Historian, Military History Section

  • Video of The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (6379) Private Reginald Scott, 19th Battalion, AIF, Firat World War. (video)