Story of Scots WW2 hero’s D-Day mission retold after medals found

Freddie Scott led troops under the cover of darkness to secure the landing beaches. File photo: Contributed
Freddie Scott led troops under the cover of darkness to secure the landing beaches. File photo: Contributed
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The remarkable story of a Second World War hero from Scotland who spearheaded a secret mission on D-Day has been retold after his medal group emerged at auction.

Lieutenant Frederick Balfour Scott was awarded the Military Cross by Field Marshal Montgomery for his leading part in covert Operation Mallard on June 6, 1944.

The platoon commander led his troops after they were dropped behind enemy lines in Normandy under the cover of darkness to secure the landing beaches ahead of the seaborne invasion.

Lt Scott, from Monifieth, Angus, immediately faced heavy fire before eventually taking a number of enemy positions, which helped clinch victory on the Western Front.

Following D-Day the Scotsman continued to lead his men forward and helped the Allies take a number of departments in northwestern France.

On 25 August 1944 his regiment, the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, were tasked with capturing a heavily defended German garrison.

Under attack by heavy machine gun fire and grenades Lt Scott led from the front with a Sten submachine gun to inflict enemy casualties.

His Military Cross citation later stated, “this officer’s example, leadership and determination were largely responsible for the success of the action and were an inspiration to the men under him.”

On 24 March 1945 Lt Scott took part in Operation Varsity, the largest airborne operation in history to be conducted on a single day and in one location.

His remarkable story has come to light over 70 years later after his family, who inherited the medals, consigned them for sale with Staffordshire-based auctioneer Richard Winterton.

Mr Winterton said: “It’s quite stirring to read about Scott and his actions during the Second World War - what a hero he was.

“It doesn’t hurt to be reminded in circumstances such as these just what these men did for our country.

“It’s Scott’s remarkable story that makes this medal group so special, having access to that information is invaluable.

“Collectors of military medals are buying a piece of history so they want to know as much as possible.

“As well as the medals we have his beret, which is a nice personal effect, as well as a souvenir from the Germans in the form of an armband.

“All these things have been in a box for a number of years and the family have decided it’s time they were passed on to someone who will cherish them.”

Lt Scott’s other medals included in the sale are the 1939-1945 Star, France and Germany Star, Defence Medal, War Medal and the General Service medal.

Other interesting inclusions are his beret, bearing the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry badge, and a red, white and black Nazi armband.

The collection is expected to fetch £3,000.

Following the Second World War Lt Scott, who attended Fettes College in Edinburgh, served in Palestine and was then demobilised from the army, after rising to the rank of major.

He then worked for British American Tobacco in Malaysia and South Africa before returning to England and managing a marketing research company.

Throughout his old age the WWII veteran often revisited Normandy as a guest of honour at celebrations and commemorations.

His wife of 32 years, Mildred, died in 1979 and Maj Scott died in 2011.

His medal group and personal belongings will be sold in Lichfield, Staffs, on Wednesday.