Sergeant Pilot, British
222 Squadron, Hornchurch
Sergeant Scott of Mansfield Nottinghamshire, was a pre-war regular airman with 222 Squadron at Hornchurch in early July 1940. On 3rd September Sgt Scott claimed a Dornier Do17 and a Messerschmitt Me109 destroyed. On the 5th a Messerschmitt Bf110 and a probable Bf109, then on the 7th a Bf110 and on the 11th a Heinkel He111 which forced landed behind the Old Barn Hildenborough, Kent, which was later put on display outside the Half Moon public house to raise money for the Spitfire fund.
From this engagement he returned to Hornchurch with his hood shattered after being attacked by a Me109. On the morning of the 27th September, Sgt Scott claimed a Bf109 destroyed but then failed to return from an operational sortie in the afternoon, he was reported ‘MISSING’. His Spitfire P9364 crashed at Greenway Court Hollingbourne, shot down by Major Molders of JG51.
The late Al Brown, god bless him, believe me this man was a God in the aeroplane archaeology world, we worked together on this one. In the past we had tried many times to get Sergeant Scott recovered, but the farmer at that time had been told that it was the wishes of the pilots family that he be left where he crashed, this we knew was not true, as they did not know who the pilot was. Al Brown was adamant it was Sgt Scott, but the problem was we could not trace his family and we desperately needed the backing of his family if we were to get anywhere, this went on for years. Then in 1990 Al had a break-through, he put an ad in the Nottingham Observer asking for any information on the whereabouts of Sgt Scott’s family. Al left my address for any reply, I soon had a reply from Sgt Scott’s brother Albert asking what I knew about his brother, I replied to his letter and I gave him my telephone number.
A couple of days later I got a phone call from Sgt Scott’s brother Albert, he asked what I could tell him about his missing brother Ernest Scott. When I told him I knew where he was, he broke down and cried, he then told me that his Mother had been told that her son had gone missing over the Wash, off the East Coast. The sad thing is Sgt Scott’s mother died in 1971 not knowing what had happened to her son, Al Brown had a copy of the Kent Police reports of downed RAF Fighters, which clearly stated Spitfire P9364 had crashed at Greenway Court Hollingbourne. Two days later Albert came down to see me I took him to Greenway Court and showed him the field where his brother’s remains are buried, or missing no known grave. Albert was in tears, he could not believe it, how cruel the authorities had been to his mother, after all her son had given his life in defence of his country. I took Albert to the farm house to see the land owner Hughie Batchelor who was not the easiest of man to deal with, I knocked on his door, the door opened and there stood a rough and ready looking man. I explained who I was and told him who Albert was, Albert put his hand in his pocket and pulled out a photo of his brother and said, "please sir can you let this man recover my brothers Spitfire and his remains". Batchelor replied, have you got a JCB? I replied no, he said I have, you can use that and I have a driver who can do it tomorrow Saturday. We both left very happy, when we got back to Tonbridge I dropped Albert off at his hotel and went home. As I walked in my front door my wife said Hughie Batchelor has phoned and said you are not to go anywhere near that field on Saturday.
I had to phone Albert and tell him what Batchelor had said, he was heart broken. I told Albert I could do no more, he would have to write to the powers that be. He went back home to Mansfield and started writing, in the end he wrote to Prince Charles and a few days later it happened, the Police cordoned off the whole area and the RAF recovery moved in, they dug out the remains of Sgt Scott and his Spitfire P9364, I think it was November 1990.
The end of the story is, January 1991 Margate Cemetery Kent, Sgt Scott was finally laid to rest with full military honours, I attended Sgt Scott’s funeral and met many of his old mates from 222 Squadron, even his rigger who was the last man to strap him into his cockpit and see him alive.