109027 36 Squadron, Royal Air Force
Verdun Scott was born in Halstead around 1916. He was the only son of Alfred and Ethel Scott. Verdun never knew his father, who died when he was a baby. He and his mother lived at 10 Upper East Street, Sudbury, close to other family relatives and he attended North Street School. On leaving school he was employed as a clerk to the Master of Walnuttree House and went on to be assistant master at Enfield House, Middlesex before joining the Royal Air Force.
Verdun trained in Canada through the Commonwealth Air Training Plan, a scheme for training aircrew overseas and received his ‘wings’ from the Duke of Kent, brother of King George VI at Carberry near Winnipeg. He gained the rank of Pilot Officer on 20th August 1941 with the announcement in the London Gazette Supplement on 23rd December 1941.
In September 1942 his actions earned him the Distinguished Flying Cross, one of the highest air force gallantry awards. The citation in the London Gazette Supplement on 16th October 1942 reads: ‘one night in September 1942, this officer captained an aircraft detailed to attack Bremen. Displaying good airmanship, Pilot Officer Scott reached his objective and bombed it. On the return journey his aircraft was engaged by an enemy fighter and sustained damage. The petrol tanks were pierced while the hydraulics were shot away, causing the undercarriage to drop. Despite this, Pilot Officer Scott flew on and although height was gradually lost whilst flying over the North Sea, the English coast was safely reached. Pilot Officer Scott effected a masterly forced landing in a field. Throughout the operation, this officer displayed skill and judgment of a high degree.’ Verdun gained promotion to Flying Officer in 1942 and Flight Lieutenant in August 1943.
No. 36 Squadron was reformed in India on 22nd October 1942 and received its first Wellington bombers in mid-December. It moved to Algeria on 7th June 1943 where detachments operated from various bases carrying out anti-submarine duties. Its motto was ‘Rajawali raja langit’ which is Malay for ‘Eagle King of the sky’.
Verdun was killed aged 27 when his plane crashed on take off on 5th September 1943 killing all the crew. He lies buried in El Alia Cemetery, near Algiers, Algeria.
Verdun is also remembered on the Trinity Congregational Church Memorial, now in the United Reformed Church, School Street, Sudbury.
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