In search of Humphrey Scott


Obviously when writing a unit history, one of the most important characters will be the commanding officer.  Much of the unit’s fate, success or failure would depend upon this man, as well as its level of morale, skill and discipline.  To many of the rank and file he would become something of a father figure, and indeed their lives would often be placed in his hands.

The longest-serving and most influential commander of the 56th Battalion was Alan Humphrey Scott, DSO.  He took command of the unit from its creation in February 1916 in Egypt, and led it for nearly two years, until his tragic death in action in October 1917.  For our history it is vital to find out as much about this man in order to better understand the organisation he led.

We do have a few resources on him at present, including a few mentions in the Official History, an article in Reveille and an Australian Dictionary of Biography entry.  We do also have a few brief insights on him from Williams’s two books.

But of course what we’d really like is to find the descendants of Humphrey Scott, if any remain.  We’d be delighted if we could turn up personal letters, diaries or perhaps a photo or two (hopefully a better one that that shown above from Reveille).  There are only two other known photos of him, both whilst still a major in 4th Battalion; one on Gallipoli, the other in Egypt just before taking over the 56th.

Any leads or suggestions on finding Scott’s family would be most welcome.

Devilishly handsome looking chap wasn’t he?


2 Responses to “In search of Humphrey Scott”

  1. Wes Says:

    Here is a link to a photo I took of Lt. Col. Scott’s grave at Polygon Wood.

    I have some other photos pertaining to the 56th including those commemorated on the Menin Gate. I will try and upload these soon. I also have memorabilia of my grandfathers who was a private in the 56th, unfortunately these are in boxes awaiting a house move, so it will be a few weeks until I can dig these out.


    Editor’s response: Thanks Wes, nice photos. No hurry with the material on your grandfather – look forward to seeing it in the future.


  2. Wes Says:

    Just found another pic. Look at

    Editor’s response: Oh, good man Wes ! This is a great photo ! Thanks so much for finding this.



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