Desmond J. Scott
Group Captain
Group Captain
Group captain is a senior commissioned rank in the Royal Air Force and the air forces of many other Commonwealth countries. It ranks above wing commander and immediately below air commodore...

 Desmond James Scott, DSO
Distinguished Service Order
The Distinguished Service Order is a military decoration of the United Kingdom, and formerly of other parts of the British Commonwealth and Empire, awarded for meritorious or distinguished service by officers of the armed forces during wartime, typically in actual combat.Instituted on 6 September...

Order of the British Empire
The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire is an order of chivalry established on 4 June 1917 by George V of the United Kingdom. The Order comprises five classes in civil and military divisions...

, DFC & Bar
Distinguished Flying Cross (United Kingdom)
The Distinguished Flying Cross is a military decoration awarded to personnel of the United Kingdom's Royal Air Force and other services, and formerly to officers of other Commonwealth countries, for "an act or acts of valour, courage or devotion to duty whilst flying in active operations against...

 (11 September 1918 – 8 October 1997) was a New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

 fighter pilot during the Second World War. He got his licence as a private pilot in New Zealand in 1939 and was automatically enlisted in the Royal New Zealand Air Force
Royal New Zealand Air Force
The Royal New Zealand Air Force is the air arm of the New Zealand Defence Force...

 in September of that year. After Arriving in Britain in September 1940 Scott flew for the Royal Air Force
Royal Air Force
The Royal Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Formed on 1 April 1918, it is the oldest independent air force in the world...

, rising through the ranks to become one of the youngest Group Captain
Group Captain
Group captain is a senior commissioned rank in the Royal Air Force and the air forces of many other Commonwealth countries. It ranks above wing commander and immediately below air commodore...

s in the RAF.

Early life

Desmond J Scott was born in Ashburton
Ashburton, New Zealand
Ashburton is a town and district in the Canterbury Region on the east coast of the South Island of New Zealand. It is the third-largest centre in Canterbury, after Christchurch and Timaru. The area around Ashburton is frequently referred to as Mid Canterbury, which is also the name of the...

 in the province of Canterbury
Canterbury, New Zealand
The New Zealand region of Canterbury is mainly composed of the Canterbury Plains and the surrounding mountains. Its main city, Christchurch, hosts the main office of the Christchurch City Council, the Canterbury Regional Council - called Environment Canterbury - and the University of Canterbury.-...

, New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

 on 11 September 1918. He was educated at Cathedral Grammar School in Christchurch
Christchurch is the largest city in the South Island of New Zealand, and the country's second-largest urban area after Auckland. It lies one third of the way down the South Island's east coast, just north of Banks Peninsula which itself, since 2006, lies within the formal limits of...

, before becoming a salesman.

In the late 1930s Scott joined the Territorial Army and became a trooper in the Canterbury Yeomanry
Yeomanry is a designation used by a number of units or sub-units of the British Territorial Army, descended from volunteer cavalry regiments. Today, Yeomanry units may serve in a variety of different military roles.-History:...

Cavalry or horsemen were soldiers or warriors who fought mounted on horseback. Cavalry were historically the third oldest and the most mobile of the combat arms...

. After an encounter with a New Zealand Permanent Air Force Bristol F.2 Fighter
Bristol F.2 Fighter
The Bristol F.2 Fighter was a British two-seat biplane fighter and reconnaissance aircraft of the First World War flown by the Royal Flying Corps. It is often simply called the Bristol Fighter or popularly the "Brisfit" or "Biff". Despite being a two-seater, the F.2B proved to be an agile aircraft...

 Scott decided to become a pilot, enlisting with a local flying club where he learned to fly a de Havilland Gypsy Moth. After a total of six and a half hours of dual instruction Scott flew solo. Each hour of instruction cost 30 shilling
The shilling is a unit of currency used in some current and former British Commonwealth countries. The word shilling comes from scilling, an accounting term that dates back to Anglo-Saxon times where it was deemed to be the value of a cow in Kent or a sheep elsewhere. The word is thought to derive...

s and Scott was:
Scott was sent for training to the Air Force base at Wigram Aerodrome
Wigram Aerodrome
Wigram Aerodrome is a former Royal New Zealand Air Force base located in the Christchurch suburb of Wigram. It is named after Sir Henry Wigram. Originally home to the RNZAF Central Flying School , it was decommissioned in 1995 following the CFS' relocation to RNZAF Ohakea two years earlier.Wigram...

 where he was teamed up with a Stan "Spud" Murphy to fly Fairey Gordon
Fairey Gordon
|-See also:-External links:* * *...

s. In late 1940 Scott sailed to England as part of a contingent of New Zealand pilots from his course at Wigram. On arrival in Scotland in September the New Zealanders were sent to the aircrew reception centre at Uxbridge
Uxbridge is a large town located in north west London, England and is the administrative headquarters of the London Borough of Hillingdon. It forms part of the ceremonial county of Greater London. It is located west-northwest of Charing Cross and is one of the major metropolitan centres...


3 Squadron

From Uxbridge Sergeant
Sergeant is a rank used in some form by most militaries, police forces, and other uniformed organizations around the world. Its origins are the Latin serviens, "one who serves", through the French term Sergent....

 Scott was posted to RAF Fighter Command
RAF Fighter Command
RAF Fighter Command was one of three functional commands of the Royal Air Force. It was formed in 1936 to allow more specialised control of fighter aircraft. It served throughout the Second World War, gaining recognition in the Battle of Britain. The Command continued until 17 November 1943, when...

 and commenced advanced training at RAF Sutton Bridge
RAF Sutton Bridge
RAF Sutton Bridge is a former RAF airfield found next to the village of Sutton Bridge in the south-east of Lincolnshire. The airfield was to the south of the current A17, and east of the River Nene, next to Walpole in Norfolk.-History:...

 as a Hurricane
Hawker Hurricane
The Hawker Hurricane is a British single-seat fighter aircraft that was designed and predominantly built by Hawker Aircraft Ltd for the Royal Air Force...

 pilot. After a week flying Miles Master
Miles Master
-See also:-References:NotesBibliography* Amos, Peter and Don Lambert Brown. Miles Aircraft Since 1925, Volume 1. London: Putnam Aeronautical, 2000. ISBN 0-85177-787-0....

s and North American Harvards Scott was allowed to fly a Hurricane:

In January 1941 Scott and E.L "Nipper" Joyce, another New Zealander from Scott's Wigram course, were posted to 3 Squadron
No. 3 Squadron RAF
No 3 Squadron of the Royal Air Force operates the Typhoon F2, FGR4 and T3 from RAF Coningsby, Lincolnshire.No 3 Squadron, which celebrated its 95th anniversary over the weekend of 11-13 May 2007, is unique in the RAF for having two official crests....

, which was then based at Skeabrae in the Orkney Islands
Orkney Islands
Orkney also known as the Orkney Islands , is an archipelago in northern Scotland, situated north of the coast of Caithness...

, defending the nearby naval base at Scapa Flow
Scapa Flow
right|thumb|Scapa Flow viewed from its eastern endScapa Flow is a body of water in the Orkney Islands, Scotland, United Kingdom, sheltered by the islands of Mainland, Graemsay, Burray, South Ronaldsay and Hoy. It is about...

. On 3 April 1941 3 Squadron was transferred to Martlesham Heath
RAF Martlesham Heath
RAF Martlesham Heath is a former Royal Air Force airfield in England. The field is located 1½ miles SW of Woodbridge, Suffolk.- RFC/RAF prewar use:Martlesham Heath was first used as a Royal Flying Corps airfield during World War I...

 near Ipswich
Ipswich is a large town and a non-metropolitan district. It is the county town of Suffolk, England. Ipswich is located on the estuary of the River Orwell...

 and became part of 11 Group. On 9 April they were joined by 71("Eagle") Squadron
No. 71 Squadron RAF
No. 71 Squadron is a Royal Air Force aircraft squadron, the number has been used three times, once by the Royal Flying Corps for an Australian Flying Corps squadron, in the second world war as an Eagle Squadron and post-war as a fighter-bomber unit based in Royal Air Force Germany.-First World...

 and both units settled down to a quiet period of convoy patrols. Both units were equipped with Hurricane Mks. IIA and IIB, armed with eight and 12 .303
.303 British
.303 British, or 7.7x56mmR, is a .311 inch calibre rifle and machine gun cartridge first developed in Britain as a blackpowder round put into service in December 1888 for the Lee-Metford rifle, later adapted to use smokeless powders...

-inch Browning machine guns
M1919 Browning machine gun
The M1919 Browning is a .30 caliber medium machine gun that was widely used during the 20th century. It was used as a light infantry, coaxial, mounted, aircraft, and anti-aircraft machine gun by the U.S. and many other countries, especially during World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War...

 respectively, although these were being changed for the improved Mk IIC, which was armed with four 20 mm Hispano
Hispano-Suiza HS.404
The Hispano-Suiza HS.404 was an autocannon widely used as both an aircraft and land weapon in the 20th century by British, American, French, and numerous other military services. The cannon is also referred to as Birkigt type 404, after its designer. Firing a 20 mm caliber projectile, it delivered...

 cannon. It became apparent that 3 Squadron was expected to operate both by day and by night in a wide range of roles:


Scott made his first claims on 7 August 1941, a pair of Bf-109s damaged over Le Touquet. During night intruder operations over Holland, Scott was to claim several kills during the first half of 1942, totalling 3.5 claimed destroyed, 3 probables and 3 damaged. .

He was promoted Flight Sergeant in May 1942 before being commissioned in July, becoming a Flight Commander in August. In September he received the DFC and bar, promoted to Squadron Leader, and rested from operations, serving with HQ Fighter Command in a staff position.

In April 1943 he converted to the Hawker Typhoon
Hawker Typhoon
The Hawker Typhoon was a British single-seat fighter-bomber, produced by Hawker Aircraft. While the Typhoon was designed to be a medium-high altitude interceptor, and a direct replacement for the Hawker Hurricane, several design problems were encountered, and the Typhoon never completely satisfied...

 and joined No. 198 Squadron as a Squadron Leader before moving to command No. 486 Squadron (NZ), flying offensive fighter-bomber operations over Europe. In the next four months he claimed another two destroyed and two shared destroyed. In August 1943 he received the DSO and became Wing Leader, RAF Tangmere
Tangmere is a village and civil parish in the Chichester District of West Sussex, England. Located three miles north east of Chichester it is twinned with Hermanville-sur-Mer in Lower Normandy, France....


In November 1943 he was rested and posted as Commanding Officer, RAF Hawkinge
Hawkinge is a village and civil parish in the Shepway District of Kent, England. The original village of Hawkinge is actually just less than a mile due east of the present village centre ; the modern, much larger, village of Hawkinge was formed by the merging of Hawkinge and Uphill...

. In March 1944 he commanded the newly-formed 123 Wing flying Typhoons, taking the unit to Europe during mid 1944, and becoming the youngest Group Captain in the RNZAF. He finished his tour in February 1945. He was awarded the OBE for rescuing a pilot from a burning crashed aircraft.

His claims for the war were 5 (and 3 shared) aircraft destroyed, 4 (and 2 shared) 'probables', 5 (and 1 shared) damaged.

External links

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