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Lone RAF Pathfinder in Western Australia
Anzac Day 2007 in Perth and the marchers were lining up. Tom Scotland, Pathfinder pilot from Bunbury, waited in position to represent RAF Pathfinders, and was expecting to be joined by fellow Pathfinder Dick White of Northampton. Dick’s nephew arrived, “I’m Dick White’s nephew. Dick won’t be coming. He’s ill.” Tom groaned, fearing for his friend. Dick had been the last Pathfinder to march with him in 2006.
PHOTO 2005. Few Pathfinders remain to march in Perth
(L to R) Pat O’Hara, Eric Silbert, Dick White, Tom Scotland
Ex WWII Pathfinders first met in reunion in 1984, when flyers from all over the world gathered at Surfers Paradise in Queensland. In WWII theirs had been a terrible and costly work, leading the Air Force bombers to target so they could destroy the war machinery of Nazi Europe. Their reunion stimulated Pathfinders Australia wide to meet together and support one another. In Perth, thirty five WWII RAF Pathfinders agreed to march on Anzac Days.
Now, Tom stood, feeling the loneliness of being the only Pathfinder left to represent his mates. Suddenly, people appeared around Tom. Who were they? There was Dick White’s nephew, Steve, and the late Gordon Hunt’s daughter, Dorothy, and Eric Silbert's grandson and daughter Nik and Mia with Tom’s own Laurel and his grandson and grand daughter. They chorussed, “We want to keep the name of Pathfinders going. Can we join you? We’d like to do this every year?” How proudly they marched, line abreast, behind the flyers from Bomber Command and 205 Group Italy, that the Pathfinders had once led into battle. Dick White died six weeks later.
© Tom Scotland DFC