Archiver > WORLD-OBITS > 2009-01 > 1233078186

From: "Peter McCrae" <>
Subject: [W-OBITS] SCHOLES: Malcolm Scholes 2008
Date: Tue, 27 Jan 2009 17:43:06 -0000

Wing Commander Malcolm Scholes
Flight engineer who led a charmed life during two operational tours as a
teenager with the Pathfinder force

Last Updated: 6:42PM GMT 05 Jan 2009

from The

Wing Commander Malcolm Scholes Wing Commander Malcolm Scholes, who has died
aged 84, completed two tours of operations with Bomber Command's Pathfinder
force whilst still a teenager.

Scholes had just 66 hours of flying experience as a flight engineer when he
joined an established crew on No 35 Squadron. His first operation, on
November 11 1943, was to Cannes, to bomb the marshalling yards on the main
coastal line to Italy.

His Halifax was badly damaged by flak and only just managed to return to
England, where it was forced to crash-land . This sortie set the tone for
much of Scholes's tour with the Pathfinders.

Over the next 11 months he completed another 54 missions, and his aircraft
was hit by flak 11 times - on one occasion the bomb aimer was killed. On
three successive long-range sorties deep into Germany his bomber was badly
damaged by anti-aircraft fire; once he returned with no hydraulics and
another time his aircraft lost an engine. On February 24 1944 a German
fighter attacked his Halifax but Scholes and the rear gunner managed to
shoot it down.

In March, No 35 re-equipped with the Lancaster. On March 30 Scholes attacked
Nuremburg on the night when Bomber Command suffered its worst casualties of
the war: 95 bombers, each manned by a crew of seven, were lost.

During the spring and early summer of 1944 Scholes also acted as the bomb
aimer in his crew when they attacked many targets in northern France in
preparation for the Allied invasion. On the night of June 5 he bombed a big
gun battery south of Dieppe when the order was "this target has to be
destroyed at all costs".

Scholes and his crew were sometimes appointed as the deputy master bomber,
controlling and directing the main bomber force. By the autumn of 1944,
Bomber Command had returned to operations over Germany, and on October 5
Scholes attacked Saarbrucken - it was his final operation, and 12 days
before his 20th birthday.

He was awarded the DFM, having "set an example of tenacity and enthusiasm to
the rest of the squadron".

Malcolm Scholes was born at Wakefield on October 17 1924 and educated at
Manygates Secondary School, Sandal, and at Wakefield Technical College. He
became a member of the Air Defence Corps (later the Air Training Corps) in
October 1939 and joined the RAF on his 18th birthday to train as a flight

After completing his tour of operations with No 35, he was commissioned, and
served until the end of the war as an instructor at the Pathfinder Force
Training Unit.

Scholes elected to remain in the administration branch of the service, and
in July 1947 was posted as the adjutant to the RAF airfield at Ein Shemer in
Palestine. He was much involved in the arrangements for the difficult
evacuation of the unit ahead of the creation of Israel in May 1948.

On April 25 he led the final convoy of some 110 vehicles, which retreated
into the Haifa enclave prior to evacuation to Egypt and Cyprus. He was
appointed MBE for "distinguished services in Palestine. his devotion to duty
has been far above the normal requirements of the service".

Scholes served on bomber stations before he was appointed the last commander
of the RAF garrison in Tobruk. He made numerous forays into the desert with
Army patrols also based there, and by the time he left in June 1967 they had
given him the nickname "the blue major".

He later served at Biggin Hill and at the RAF Regiment Depot at Catterick
before taking up a post with the RAF recruiting organisation in the Ministry
of Defence.

On leaving the regular RAF in March 1978 Scholes took up a retired officer's
post with the East Yorkshire Wing of the Air Training Corps, spending 12
enjoyable and rewarding years as the Wing's administration officer.

In October 1989 he retired, at the age of 65, when he was taken on a
two-hour flight over the North Sea in a Tornado fighter while the pilot
investigated a Russian trawler that was close to British territorial waters.

In 1984 he was made an honorary life member of his old ATC squadron, 127
(City of Wakefield). He also served as president of 58 (Harrogate) Squadron.

Malcolm Scholes died on November 11. His wife Christina and two daughters
survive him.

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