Dave Scotts Diary
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Outline of David Scott’s life
(taken from his funeral service)
Born: December 26th 1921. Died: April 4th 2004

David was born on Boxing Day, 1921, in Pelton, near Beamish in County Durham. He lived in Beamish with his mother, Esther, his father, William, a pit manager, and Peggy, his sister. Later on, Peggy’s daughter Susan became a much-loved niece. These family members, throughout their lives, adored David. Later still, David met Jean in Derby and they had a son, Craig.

He was an intelligent young man, who studied hard to become an engineer. At 23 years of age, in 1944, he joined the RAF as a flight engineer and was soon flying in Lancaster bombers over Germany, where he had some very near misses. A number of his colleagues never returned from their missions. Later in life, David would rail at this loss of life and at the destruction of cities and towns in the war. He felt strongly that all wars were a form of madness and condemned the war in Iraq in just the same way.

During the war, he flew Lancaster bombers on many missions from RAF Linton–on–Ouse in Lincolnshire until one day, the 28th July 1944, his plane en route to Hamburg was shot down in flames at Stade in Germany. Another crewman managed to open a hatch in the bottom of the aircraft and bailed out. David followed him. After an awful delay David’s parachute opened and carried him down into enemy territory, where he ended up hanging from some overhead wires that broke his fall. He was quickly taken prisoner and spent the rest of the war in prisoner of war camps; enduring a long march across Silesia in Poland, where he suffered many deprivations. His diaries of that time poignantly show how his resolute heart, his natural resourcefulness and his sense of humour sustained him. Following his liberation by the Russians at Berlin in April 1945 and his return home in June 1945, he was sad to learn that everyone else on the plane had been killed. He considered himself then, and to the end of his life, to be a very lucky man. David became a member of the Golden Caterpillar Club. For the uninitiated, the little golden caterpillar badge that David kept for the rest of his life is only awarded to that small band of people who escape from aircraft after an unscheduled parachute jump.

At the end of World War 2, David worked for BSAAC, British South American Airways Corporation, as a flight engineer. By the end of 1948, he was on the “Berlin Run”, flying in supplies to West Berlin. Later on he flew the first Comets for BOAC, affectionately known as Bo’ac. It was around this time he met his wife-to-be, Jean, in Derby. A move saw them and Craig leave behind a flat in Hartington Street for a ‘semi’ in Cromwell Road. Craig remembers this as a happy time, both with his family and at school. Later, David was to go on to flying Boeing 707s, visiting many places around the world. Following another move to Allestree, Derby, he took early retirement, mainly to spend more time at home with Jean.

Craig remembers a story his dad told him some time ago. An aircraft he was in was losing oil and in danger of crashing. Fortunately for all, David realised what the problem was. He spent the next few hours in a contorted position in the belly of the plane pouring bottle after bottle of oil into the pipe work until the pilot was able to land safely. Presumably the passengers were blissfully unaware of their predicament. Craig feels this illustrates for him a number of his dad’s qualities, including his intelligence, his tenacious spirit and his pure iron resolve never to give up. Perhaps this is partly what good luck is – you make it through your own endeavours.

David had a wealth of interesting and amusing stories. Those who knew him well will no doubt have a favourite.

Jean died in October 1996 in her 83rd year, the same age that David lived to. He loved Jean dearly and her death was a tremendous blow to him. He slowly recovered, but always held her in his heart. Endearingly, Craig remembers how his dad often wore one of Jean’s scarves when he went out. He was wearing this same scarf on the day of his accident.

In his later years, David became even closer to his niece Susan who lives in Newcastle. He “loved her to bits”. He talked with her everyday, as he did with his much-loved sister in law, Bessie.

A few years ago, Susan was very ill and received constant support from David who gave her tremendous encouragement to overcome her illness. She will always remember his strength, courage and spirit that he communicated so well to her and others he loved.

Craig and others will remember David as a fierce advocate of the oppressed underdog. He felt extremely strongly about the social, political and corporate inequalities that abound in the world. Until the end of his life, he spoke out eloquently against all those who profited from the abuse of others. Neither could he abide politicians and generals that misled whole populations and promoted war.

Having said all of this, David was always ready with a broad smile and a great deal of charm. He was easily amused by the humour of both friends and entertainers, such as Rory Bremner, Bird and Fortune. Craig often bought David a copy of Private Eye that he read from cover to cover. David was very fond of Craig’s partner, Sandra, and always asked about her and her dad, Bill. Sandra could easily make David laugh or smile with her wit and lightening sense of humour.

David had many and varied interests. He loved music of all kinds, from Gilbert and Sullivan to the Mavericks. An avid reader, he could thoroughly enjoy a third or fourth reading of Dickens one day, a fantasy novel, a book on history or one by an American crime writer the next day. Craig and Sandra would always know what to give him for birthdays or Christmas.

For many years, David repaired watches and clocks as a hobby and built up a treasured and impressive collection of old time-pieces. His depth of knowledge on the subject was amazing. This is also true of his fine cigarette card collection.

David had a lifelong interest in electronics, both repairing radio equipment and designing new electronic circuits. When not performing electronic wizardry, he would magic up a mean chocolate or sponge cake in the kitchen or practise his sewing skills. There can’t be many other Allestree men who have re-covered a camel saddle! Along with housework, his interests kept him busy right up to the end of his life.

In later years, David had chronic emphysema which often limited his mobility. He soldiered on regardless with much courage and spirit. The day he fell in a supermarket he had just done a large shop after picking up his new car. Following a hip replacement in Derby Royal Infirmary, he died three weeks later on April 4th 2004.

David was a truly remarkable and unique person. They broke the mould after he was born. The loss of David truly proves that “no man is an island”. David’s death has taken from us a very special and lovely man.