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Obituary: Major Freddie Scott

• Major Freddie Scott MC, distinguished soldier and businessman. Born: 31 January, 1922, in Monifieth, Angus. Died: 15 April, 2011, in Sussex,aged 89.

• Major Freddie Scott MC, distinguished soldier and businessman. Born: 31 January, 1922, in Monifieth, Angus. Died: 15 April, 2011, in Sussex,aged 89.

Major Freddie Scott won the Military Cross for his bravery while commanding his regiment, part of the 2nd Battalion The Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry in Normandy in 1944.

He led his men into battle as part of the 6th Airborne Division's main assault to secure the flank of the beach landings. It was a tremendous undertaking and Scott and his men fulfilled their duty with exemplary courage and strategic success. Scott proved a fine leader and a brave soldier who enjoyed military life.

Frederic Balfour Scott was proud of his Angus origins and won a scholarship to Fettes College and played hockey for the first XI. In 1940 Scott was keen to serve his country and on leaving school immediately enlisted in the army as a private but was commissioned as platoon commander of C Company and posted to the 52nd, the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry. During the intensive training for D-Day Scott took part in the five-day training march from Ilfracombe to Bulford in the summer of 1942. He encouraged and supported his men throughout the long trek and was proud that none of his platoon fell out for any reason.

Scott flew with the Airborne Division on the opening day of the D-Day Landings.

On the first morning of the invasion Scott had to crash land his glider north of Caen - a major objective of the Allies and a town strongly defended by the enemy.

In his memoirs Scott wrote of the crash landing: "The Germans had erected poles all over the area but, in true Teutonic fashion, they were all in straight lines.

"So our pilot landed between them. The poles sheared off the wings and helped us slow down."

With typical reserve Scott led several surprise raiding patrols into the German defences and in late August was ordered to attack a strategically important enemy stronghold.

During the attack they came under heavy enemy fire but Scott, armed only with a sten gun, continued the attack and drove the enemy out of their position. He was awarded an immediate Military Cross and was presented with the medal by Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery. The citation praised his "example, leadership and determination" and commented that "they were largely responsible for the success of the action and were an inspiration to the men under him".

Eventually the Allies encircled two German regiments and the capture of Caen brought the tensely fought battle for Normandy to a successful conclusion. The 52nd battalion of the Oxford & Buckinghamshire then took part in the advance east, eventually entering Belgium in early September.

Scott had to endure the most awful weather conditions during the advance - the snow fell incessantly - and progress was severely hampered. That was further delayed when, in December 1944, the Germans launched what came to be known as the Battle of the Bulge.

Scott's next major operation was again by glider when he led D Company over the Rhine in late March and reached Hamburg where Scott and his men remained until the end of the war.

Scott's final period of military service before being demobbed was in Palestine.

In October 1945 he was sent to near Trieste where there had been some local uprisings. One of his duties was to act as a security adviser at a prison which principally housed captured terrorists. It was only when he reported for duty that he found out it was a female-only prison and was greeted by a series of wolf-whistles from the "far from unattractive inmates."

After the war Scott was appointed marketing manager in Penang, Malaysia, for British American Tobacco. Later he moved with the company to South Africa before returning to England at the end of the Fifties He then worked for a marketing research company and lived in a converted railway carriage near Chichester. After settling in Bognor Regis, Scott ran a small business and kept up with former colleagues by attending annual regimental reunions. In March last year Scott attended the last day of the Forces March and led a small group of veterans over the last few yards to the finishing mark.

In 1947 Major Scott married Mildred Swettenham, who predeceased him.

 
 
 

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