A Royal Canadian Air Force Chinook pilot is following in his grandfather’s footsteps by serving with the Royal Air Force on Operations in Africa.
Captain Scott Stewart is currently serving as an exchange pilot with the RAF’s 27 Squadron based at RAF Odiham, Hampshire. The Squadron however is currently deployed in Gao, Mali providing a heavy lift capability to the French military deployed on Op Barkhane, the French Counter Insurgency Campaign in the Sahal region of West Africa.
Captain Stewart’s grandfather, Robert Brown served with the Royal Air Force during World War II including service with what was known as the Desert Air Force during the North African Campaign. Sadly, Robert passed away just over a year ago but before he died he was able to see Captain Stewart off as he left for the UK on his exchange.
“My Grandfather was so excited that I was going on this exchange. He was so proud of his RAF service, and now here I am serving in Africa as well.”
Captain Scott Stewart
Robert Brown was originally from Carstairs in, Lanarkshire, Scotland and joined the RAF as an 18 year old Airman in 1940. After first serving in the UK during the Battle of Britain, he was posted overseas to North Africa, joining 204 Group which later became the Headquarters of the Desert Air Force and then to 205 Group. 205 Group was formed to oversee the bomber campaign in North Africa in support of what became the famous 8th Army.
From Africa, Robert, or “Ho Ho”, as he was known then served as a Radar technician in Burma. After the war Robert joined the Police in Devon. He was married to Anita, a former Land Girl who he had met on his return from the war and they had two daughters. The eldest Sue emigrated to Canada when she was 23, and who later married William Stewart. Captain Stewart is their only son and Roberts’s only Grandchild.
“After my Grandfather’s retirement from the Police in England, he and my Grandmother moved to Canada to join us all in British Columbia. He told us his fondest memory was of seeing elephants in Burma during the war. The elephant by the way features on the squadron crest of 27 Squadron in which I am now serving, he would have like that!”
Captain Scott Stewart
This current tour is Captain Stewart’s second with 27 Squadron to Mali and on his return, he will be posted to 450 Squadron RCAF to fly the Canadian CH-47F Chinook from Petewawa Air Base in Ontario Canada.
Reflecting on his time with the RAF, Captain Stewart said: “It has been a blast, when I first arrived, coming from the CH-146 Griffon, it was challenging to learn a new aircraft, SOP’s, accents, places, plus all the RAF rules and regulations in a short time. This was compounded by constantly being teased for my North American accent, being a Griffon pilot, love of ice hockey, and withdrawals from real Tim Hortans coffee.
My 27 Squadron adventures have included most notably Exercise Saif Sareea 3 in Oman, first to embark on HMS Queen Elizabeth, and being on the initial crew working to assist the Environment Agency at the Whaley Bridge dam incident.
On a personal note, myself and my wife Viktoria will always remember being invited to the Queen’s Buckingham Palace Garden Party, introducing the RAF to “Moose Milk”, and the numerous dining in nights at the RAF Odiham’s Officers' Mess."