Memorial to Will Scotland
J W H Scotland in front of his Cauldron C Biplane, Ōtaki 1914. Museum of Aviation (Kapiti) Inc Collection.
Location: Layby south-east of traffic bridge, SH1, Ōtaki
This memorial celebrates the first sustained flight in the Wellington District on 29 January, 1914.
Will (James William Humphrey) Scotland was born in 1891 in Paihia. In 1913 he obtained his pilot licence in Britain, making him the second New Zealander to be issued with a British Aviation Certificate. He returned to New Zealand with a Caudron aircraft, making the first cross-country flights in New Zealand, flying Invercargill to Gore, then Timaru to Christchurch in 2 hours 15 minutes.
On 21 January 1914, the Caudron aircraft arrived in Ōtaki from Wellington. It was assembled in a marquee on Mr. Baucke’s property, approximately 1.5 kms from this site. Ray Mann, Jack Ropata and Mr. Thorndon helped to assemble the aircraft. Three days later, Scotland attempted to fly the plane, but failed when a skid caught in a rut and a spar was broken. By 29 January 1914, the aircraft had been repaired and Scotland made a successful 20 minute flight, circling a field at five hundred feet. The propeller from his Caudron aircraft can be viewed at the Museum of Aviation in Paraparaumu.
Will Scotland played a major role in assisting Henry Wigram establish a pilot training school at Sockburn (Wigram). In 1918 he toured the United States of America visiting flying schools, aero clubs and aircraft factories. In 1919, Scotland severed all connection with aviation and joined an insurance company in Palmerston North. He died in Melbourne, Australia at the age of 72.