Orders, Decorations, Medals and Militaria (18 & 19 September 2014)

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Date of Auction: 18th & 19th September 2014

Sold for £2,500

Estimate: £2,500 - £3,000

“He was a gentle and sensitive young man who knew the ideals he was fighting for. He is no longer missing.”

Wing Commander Montgomery, C.O. of R.A.F. Manston, in his closing address at the funeral of Flight Sergeant Ernest Scott - 50 years after his death in action.

An outstanding Battle of Britain ace’s campaign group of three awarded to Sergeant E. Scott, Royal Air Force, who gained five confirmed victories and three “probables” in Spitfires of No. 222 Squadron in September 1940, prior to being shot down and killed at the end of the same month - reputedly a victim of Werner “Vati” Molders: almost 50 years to the day, in 1990, the wreckage of his Spitfire was recovered from farmland in Kent - so, too, his remains, still in the cockpit

1939-45 Star, clasp, Battle of Britain; Air Crew Europe Star; War Medal 1939-45, in their original Air Ministry card forwarding box, addressed to ‘Mrs. E. Kent, 165 Chesterfield Road, Sth., Mansfield, Notts.’, good very fine, together with the recipient’s original Royal Air Force Certificate of Service, three wartime photographs, the reverse of one inscribed, ‘Atta Boy! Winnie. Come on Adolf, what’s keeping you’, and three metalled identity plates removed from a downed German aircraft (Lot) £2500-3000

Footnote

Ernest Scott was born in Mansfield, Yorkshire, in December 1917, and was educated at St. Peter’s School, Mansfield, and St. John’s College, York. Having then been employed as a fitter at an engineering works, he enlisted in the Royal Air Force in October 1935.

Advanced to A.C. 1 (Flight Mechanic) in August 1937, he was selected for pilot training and qualified for his “Wings” at Lossiemouth in the following year. Quickly converting to Spitfires, he was posted as a Flight Sergeant to No. 222 Squadron at Duxford in March 1940, and, two months later, would have participated in operations covering the withdrawal from Dunkirk. But 222 did not see front line action in the Battle of Britain until moving to Hornchurch at the end of August.

Battle of Britain - Spitfire Ace

Scott’s subsequent tally of five confirmed victories and three “probables” within four weeks was a remarkable achievement - three of the former and three of the latter actually fell victim to his marksmanship in a single week - and, but for his death in action on 27 September, would surely have resulted in the award of an immediate D.F.M.

He opened his account in spectacular
style on the 3rd, downing a Do. 17 near Manston, and a Me. 109 off Folkestone, the latter after closing to just 10 yards range. His combat report for the former engagement states:

‘I was flying at a height of about 15,000 feet when I spotted a Do. 17 flying below at approximately 8,000 feet. I immediately dived and made a stern attack, giving the enemy aircraft a good long burst. The enemy aircraft immediately dived to sea level with both engines on fire. I then closed in again and delivered another astern attack, giving two short bursts. The enemy aircraft dived steeply into the sea north of Manston. I saw a motor boat start away from the shore and go towards the wreckage so I then made for home base.’

Later that day, he claimed an Me. 109 while ferrying a faulty or damaged Spitfire from Rochford to Hornchurch. Scott takes up the story:

‘I was ordered to take a u/s machine to home base for repair. On taking off, I noticed that my Squadron was about to take off also. I climbed above the clouds and waited for my Squadron. I sighted them in the distance, so I went full out and eventually caught them up. l was just in time to see one Me. 109 about to make an attack on one of our aircraft, the height of which was approximately 8,000 feet. I immediately made a steep turn and got on his tail, giving chase. He climbed to about 15,000 feet. I climbed with engine full out and kept 500 feet below him, but could not get any nearer than 600 yards. I decided to try a long shot. This appeared to have effect, because the machine dived very steeply towards sea level. I followed him down and was able to close in from 600 yards to 10 yards and expend all my ammunition. I found I had gathered too much speed and overshot him, so I did a steep turn to port and was able to see the Me. 109 hit the water with a big splash. I did not stay to make any further investigation because I saw two or three black dots coming towards me which I imagined to be enemy aircraft, so I went full out and hedge-hopped to Maidstone, where I tried to get refuelled.’

Just 48 hours later, on the 5th, Scott claimed a brace of “probables” in combats over Thames Haven and Billericay:

‘I was leading my section at 30,000 feet above Thames Haven when I spotted six bombers which I believe were Me. 110s. I dived down and did a beam to astern attack. I gave a good long burst of fire which had effect, because I saw bits fall away from the machine. I observed no fire from the rear gunner and I feel certain he was hit. I had gathered too much speed and overshot him but I was able to avoid the bombs which were dropping from the aircraft. I did not see the enemy aircraft crash but when “Pancake” was given I searched the spot where I expected he had gone down and there was definitely signs of blazing wreckage. After engaging the bombers I was chased by an Me. 109 which fired a few shots into my tail but did little damage. I did a steep turn and was able to fire a burst at him as he overshot me and clouds of black smoke issued from the machine which commenced to dive steeply. I broke off the attack to engage other aircraft so I was not able to see the final result. I did see later a blazing wreckage near Billericay which may have been this particular Me. 109. The engagement took place North of Rochford.’

Another 48 hours having elapsed, Scott claimed a Me. 110 destroyed after a combat over S.E. of London on the 7th:

‘I was flying behind the Squadron Leader in line astern, when we dived to attack a formation of 30 bombers. I picked a bomber which looked like an Me. 110 and commenced a beam to astern attack. I opened fire at 300 yards and closed until I had difficulty in avoiding the bomber's tail. My ammunition was completely exhausted and before breaking away I saw the machine dive with port engine in flames. I did not see the machine crash but on returning to base to refuel and rearm a group of airmen said they had watched the bomber dive towards the ground until it had disappeared from their view in the district where I had attacked it. This engagement took place South-East of London. I observed no fire from the Me. 110 and I believe the rear gunners had been put out of action.’

Another 48 hours having elapsed, Scott claimed a “probable” Me. 109 in a combat S.W. of Kenley on the 9th:

‘I was flying line astern with my section which dived on a formation of 15 bombers, the type of which I am unable to state for certain. On the tail of the bombers were 2 Me. 109s, one slightly to port and one slightly to starboard. I commenced a beam to astern attack, opening fire at 300 yards approximately. He went into a steep dive and I followed him down, still firing at him. I saw my fire entering the fuselage of the Me. 109. The enemy aircraft appeared to quiver for a second or two, then rolled on its back and disappeared through the clouds. I followed him, but lost him because my windscreen frosted up and for at least a couple of minutes I was unable to see ahead or behind. On finding my position, I estimate this engagement to have taken place S.W. of Kenley.’

Another 48 hours having elapsed, Scott destroyed a He. 111 in a combat west of Tunbridge Wells on the 11th, but not before his cockpit canopy was shattered by enemy fire:

‘I was flying in line astern when I saw what appeared to be a broken formation of 12-15 He. 111s going south. I dived on one and commenced a beam to astern attack opening fire at 300 yards and closing into about 10 yards. The e/a began to dive steeply but I was unable to follow it down because my hood was hit by either a piece of metal from the bomber or by fire from another e/a which I assume was an Me. 109. The hood was completely smashed and I was blinded for a few seconds by what appeared to be a flash. I commenced a steep dive with evasive action to rid myself of any following e/a. On reaching 500 feet I began to check my a/c to see if the damage was any greater than the hood. My a/c seemed to be in perfect condition so I began to climb when I noticed a burning enemy wreckage. I circled it to try and confirm it as the He. 111 that I had attacked but the wreckage was spread over such a wide area I could not be certain as to what type it was. I had circled the wreckage for a minute or so when I saw two parachutists descending. They were immediately pounced upon by farmers or the L.D.V.’

His victim on this occasion was a He. III of 3/KG 26, which crashed at Dormansland, near Lingfield. Three of the crew were killed, but two survived - no doubt attached to the parachutes seen descending by Scott.

Missing in action

Scott’s final victim was a Me. 109 claimed over the Maidstone area on 27th, but owing to him being posted missing later in the day, 222’s Intelligence Officer, Squadron Leader “Spy” Raymond, was only able to submit a short account of the combat based on a hasty meeting with Scott between sorties - ‘This pilot, Sergeant Scott, was [posted] missing on the patrol following this engagement, without having time to write a report ... ’

Scott is believed to have been the 23rd victim of Luftwaffe ace to Werner “Vati” Molders. Absolutely certain is the fact his Spitfire - P3964 - crashed on farmland off Greenway Court Road, Hollingbourne. A Maintenance Unit inspector called to the scene recovered a piece of metal bearing the serial number P3964, but owing to the failure of the Air Ministry to link such compelling evidence with the disappearance of Scott, his parents were told his Spitfire had been lost in a combat over the Channel. His name was therefore inscribed on the Runnymede Memorial.

“He is no longer missing”

Remarkably, in 1990, at the time of 50th Anniversary of the Battle of Britain, earlier detective work undertaken by a group of aviation archaeologists resulted in the recovery of the wreckage of P3964, the permission of Scott’s surviving brother and sister having been sought - and willingly granted - in the interim. Nonetheless, they had to appeal to the Prince of Wales to ensure the excavation went ahead.

It was duly carried out by the R.A.F’s Airfield Salvage and Transportation Flight in December 1990, who uncovered the wreckage of P3964, so, too, the remains of Scott in the cockpit, his identity being confirmed by a diary and other recovered documentation, including a copy of his final combat report - for between his hasty meeting with 222’s Intelligence Officer and being shot down on 27 September, he had managed to fill in the required form. The Me. 109 had crashed on the outskirts of Maidstone.

Scott was buried with full military honours in the Commonwealth War Graves Commission section at St. John’s Cemetery, Margate, on 1 February 1991; see
Go Straight Ahead - The Battle Diaries of 222 (Natal) Squadron, by Ernie Burton, for further details, together with accompanying research, including a photocopy of Scott’s brother’s moving account of the long journey to recover the gallant fighter ace’s remains.

N.B.
As confirmed by a copied marriage certificate, Scott’s mother married Lewis Kent in April 1943, following the death of her first husband, and it was in her new married name that her son’s awards were sent to her after the War.