A hero sailor from Perth has been recognised for his “outstanding work” averting a potential bomb disaster near a primary school.
Leading Royal Navy diver Scott McAllister, based at Faslane, is part of Northern Diving Group (NDG), the unit responsible for bomb disposal across a huge swath of Scotland and Northern England.
Scott was named NDG’s “sailor of the year” in recognition of his part in dealing with a large amount of unstable explosives found near to a primary school.
On the night of November 6 last year, Scott arrived by helicopter at Scoraig, south of Ullapool, in the Scottish Highlands.
A local resident had stumbled upon a supply of explosives and detonators stored in an outhouse – just metres from the village’s primary school.
The previous owner of the shed had been involved in the quarrying industry and was licensed to hold a supply of plastic explosives.
However, he died and they lay forgotten in the locked outhouse for around 30 years.
The explosives had deteriorated to the point where they were potentially unstable, making Scott’s mission a particularly dangerous one.
After inspecting the scene, Scott used his explosive ordnance disposal expertise to tackle the situation, safely moving the plastic explosives and detonators to a nearby beach where a controlled explosion was carried out.
Scott said: “When we landed on a grassy field it was in complete darkness.
“All we could hear was the helicopter blades turning and it was a couple of minutes until we could see the flashlights of the local police who were standing guard on the shed. It was pretty exciting to be flown to a job by helicopter.”
Scott was joined at the award ceremony by his girlfriend Xophie Hooper on board historic warship HMS Victory at Portsmouth.
He said: “I was surprised and honoured to achieve this award. It goes to show that hard work, determination and motivation goes a long way to a successful and fulfilling career.”
Joining the Royal Navy in 2007 aged 19, Scott immediately began training as a Clearance Diver. He passed his dive course in 2008, achieving the title of “best phase 2 trainee”.
Soon after, he joined the Faslane-based First Mine Counter Measures Squadron (MCM1) where he became part of the crew on board a Sandown Class mine hunter.
For the next five months he was deployed to the Gulf with HMS Pembroke, helping to protect the vital waterways in the region.
His first service with Northern Diving Group came in 2010, and in 2012 he gained promotion to Leading Diver.
The Perth sailor is also one of the only Rescue Chamber Operators for the NATO Submarine Rescue System in the UK and is an air diving supervisor.