On May 19, 1942, just two weeks after Leighton’s letter home, the Wing Commander, 407 Squadron RCAF, wrote to Scott’s mother, “By this time you will have been advised that your son, Sergeant L.O. Scott, has been posted missing after an operational flight on May 15th, 1942.  Unfortunately there is little information available which I can give you. Your son’s aircraft took off at 8:20 P.M. in conjunction with other aircraft of this Squadron to attack enemy shipping off the Dutch coast.  Their target was found and attacked through an intense barrage of anti-aircraft fire.  The aircraft of which your son was part of the crew is believed to have crashed into the sea after successfully attacking a large merchant vessel.  An explosion was seen and it is believed his aircraft was severely damaged.  Under the circumstances I am afraid that I can give you very little hope that he may still be alive.  Your son has been with this Squadron several weeks and was one of the keenest lads I had. He distinguished himself as an excellent Wireless Operator Air Gunner, and a very fine senior N.C.O….”

 

Following the news, on June 4th, an uncle sent a request to The Montreal Daily Star; he wanted the news to be “inserted in an issue of your paper: “Reported Missing. Flight Sergeant, Leighton O. Scott was reported missing after flight operations over Europe on the night of May 15th.  Sergeant Scott is the son of Mr. & Mrs. H.S. Scott of New Carlisle East, Quebec, and joined the R.C.A.F. in the fall of 1939.  He took his training in Calgary and Dafoe, Sask., passing his exams well towards the head of his classes throughout his training as air gunner.  He has been overseas for over a year and had seen considerable action before being reported missing.”

 

 

 

In October of 1942, the family received a letter from the Air Commodore, Air Officer in Charge, Air Ministry Records:

 

 

 

Then, at the outset of January 1943, the Air Marshal, Chief of the Air Staff, further informed Scott’s mother, “I have learned with deep regret that your son, Sergeant Leighton Ogilvie Scott, previously reported missing believed killed, is now presumed to have died on May 15th, 1942.  I wish to offer both you and Mr. Scott my sincere and heartfelt sympathy.  It is so unfortunate that a promising career should be thus terminated and I would like you to know that his loss is greatly deplored by all those with whom your son was serving…”

The Bank of Nova Scotia kept track of its former employee, and on January 7th, 1943 sent a ‘communication’ to the General Manager and staff:

 

 

 

And what of those wings that Scott wrote about?  On April 18th, 1946, almost four years after his death, a letter was written to Scott’s father.  The R.C.A.F. Records Officer wrote:

 

 

 

It would appear that Leighton Scott’s family was continuing to seek specific information about what had happened following the downing of his aircraft…  Then, in April of 1952, the Wing Commander, RCAF Casualties Officer, wrote to Mrs. Scott, “It is with reluctance that after so long an interval, I must refer to the loss of your son, Flight Sergeant Leighton Ogilvie Scott.  A report has, however, been received from our Missing Research and Enquiry Service which states that their efforts to locate your son’s grave have been unsuccessful.  Under the circumstances, therefore, it must be regretfully accepted and officially recorded that he does not have a ‘known’ grave. Due to the extreme hazards attending air operations there are, unhappily, many thousands of British aircrew boys who do not have ‘known’ graves and all will be commemorated on General Memorials that will be erected at a number of locations by the Imperial War Graves Commission (of which Canada is a member), each Memorial representative of a theatre of operations.  One of these Memorials will be erected at Runnymede, England, and the name of your son will appear on that Memorial. I realize that this is an extremely distressing letter and that there is no manner of conveying such information to you that would not add to your heartaches.  I am fully aware that nothing I may say will lessen your great sorrow, but I would like to express to you and the members of your family my deepest sympathy.”

Leighton Ogilvie Scott RCAF, is listed in the Book of Remembrance:

 

 

 

 

 

Leighton Scott’s family certainly were committed to keeping Leighton’s memory alive…

Nelson, Leighton’s brother, met with Robert Mullen to learn more about the time Leighton served… Mullen was a flight leader in 407 Squadron and was posted back to Canada just about the time that Leighton and his crew were lost.  In Nelson’s letter of January 31, 1972, he records the circumstances of the times; we get a sense of the forces that worked against aircrews, “… no one expected to return from a mission as the anti-aircraft fire was very bad and at one time you flew through a hail of fire.  He said one thing sure, when someone was hit, it was a quick merciful end…”   The meeting was a positive experience for Nelson, “It was nice in a way to talk about the way things were, and it is easier to understand how heroic the men were, actually some of them just boys, in the face of almost certain death.  To all like them, we owe our present lives, or at least our chance to live full, useful lives.  It sort of makes you feel that we can’t let them down, and no matter how discouraged we get at times, we have an obligation to keep on trying to make the world a better place for our having passed through it for a brief moment of history…”

The Bank of Nova Scotia wanted to honour Scott Leighton, along with others, in commemoration of the end of World War II (1995 marked the 50thanniversary of the end of the war).  Their communication read, in part, “There were 81 (Scotiabankers and employees) who will never return, who gave their lives for their country, and we shall always be conscious of our great debt to them… to commemorate those Canadians who served their country in this terrible conflict, we have produced a poster, ‘Lest We Forget: Scotiabank remembers those who served 1939-1945… the poster features Sergeant Leighton Scott, an employee…who was one of those ’81 who will never return’.

 

 

Nelson Scott, having received copies of the poster, wrote to Jane Nokes, Corporate Archivist, “… the bank was a most important factor in Leighton’s brief life and career and to have him make this posthumous contribution to this memorial on behalf of all the Scotiabank service personnel is an honour our family will cherish.  It was with the idea of trying to take my brother’s place that I joined the Bank just as the war was ending, and I had the privilege of serving with many returning servicemen and women.  Now that I have retired, the Scott-Scotiabank connection is being carried on by our son Alan… and my nephew Doug…”

In a sense, Leighton Scott’s life appeared to have come full circle.  Because of the care and commitment of his family, along with the dedication of the Bank of Nova Scotia, we have a piece of Leighton’s story and a sense of the times… It has been my personal pleasure to have been able to connect with Leighton’s family and to be able to share their donation with you.  Lest we forget…