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
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
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,
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.
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.