Veteran Stories:
Brian Scott

Air Force

  • Portrait of Brian Scott wearing his wings, 1943.

    Brian Scott
  • Brian Scott (back row, centre) is pictured here with the other pilots of "C" (Lysander) Flight, 357 Squadron, RAF in Mingaladon, Burma.

    Brian Scott
  • Brian Scott (middle) with friends Ken and Smithy in September 1946.

    Brian Scott
  • Brian Scott and his 357 Squadron, RAF.

    Brian Scott
  • Brian Scott flying a Harvard.

    Brian Scott
Enlarge Image
Listen to this story

"And, consequently, there was no room for a parachute. So I was in the backseat without a parachute, throwing these supplies out."

Transcript

We eventually ended up in India in Bombay. And, after awhile, we were stuck on a train and sent across the whole of India to Calcutta. Every place we stopped, we asked where we were going, what we were going to fly, no one would tell us. Eventually we got to Calcutta and we were met by a railroad transportation officer who said, get aboard that train. So we said, where we going? He said, you’ll find out when you get there.

So fine, we got off at Rangoon [Burma] and we were met by a truck which took us to a hut on the airfield. And there we met our commanding officer, Squadron Leader Turner, DFC [Distinguished Flying Cross]. And he told us that we were going to be on [Westland] Lysanders [small reconnaissance, communication and transportation aircraft]; and we looked at him and shook our heads, and said, no, it couldn’t be. They’d been designed and built pre-war and they were an army cooperation aircraft. And he explained what we were going to do; and it was, oh, fair enough. But we weren’t too thrilled about it at all.

But, anyway, to start off with, we had to fly in the backseat as a dispatcher. They would load the aircraft with supplies for these army types that had been dropped in the jungle. In some areas, they hacked out strips in the jungle where we would land and take out wounded, and take in replacement people. Also, we would fly over, if there was no strip, we would fly over and I personally would throw the supplies out of the backseat. [laughs]

And it got to be quite hairy because, while the aircraft had a fair-sized rear cockpit, there was so much in the way of supplies, there was barely room for me to get in. And, consequently, there was no room for a parachute. So I was in the backseat without a parachute, throwing these supplies out. [laughs]

There was one trip that I recall. I was flying with a chap called Castledine. He was a warrant officer at the time. And we were on this trip near a town called Mawchi [Burma], M-A-W-C-H-I, way up in the mountains. And we were flying up there and the cloud was fairly low; and we were sort of winding our way in and out of the valleys and around and up. And when we got to where the dropping zone was supposed to be, there was no sign of it, you couldn’t see it anywhere. So we flew around for a while and eventually saw it on the side of the mountain. Not at the top, but partway down. So they would put out parachute panels to let us know if it was all clear to drop or not, if the Japanese were around or not to drop.

So anyway, we eventually found it and I thought, oh my God, it wasn’t a very large area at all. So, anyway, we started to fly over and I managed to get out three sacks, I think, the first time. And we had about, I guess, about nine or ten sacks altogether. And as we were doing the circuits around this mountain, the weather was closing down and down, and down. And Castledine in the front seat was beginning to get a little worried about it. And he said, get that bloody stuff out fast. But on the last run over, I threw four and the last sack I could see was going down the side of the mountain and I thought, well, somebody’s going to have a long walk to get that bunch of supplies.

So, anyway, we headed off back and there was an 8,600 foot mountain on the way out and we just barely scraped over the top of the trees. And I swear, to this day, that the undercarriage went through the trees.

Interviewer's Note: Mr. Scott was part of 357 Squadron, RAF working with Force 136, comprised of British Army Officers operating in the Burmese Jungle organizing locals into guerilla bands. 357 Squadron, RAF was responsible for taking in replacement troops, taking out the wounded and flying in supplies to Force 136.

Follow us