Sadness as last survivor of Limerick's flying boat era dies

David Hurley


David Hurley


Sadness as last survivor of Limerick's flying boat era dies

Des Scales has died at the age of 93

Des Scales, one of the last men to have worked for Pan American Airways during the flying boat era has died aged 93.

Born in Askeaton in 1924, Des grew up in Foynes before attending secondary school in Newtownards school in Waterford. He later studied at Trinity College before embarking on a career in aviation.

“He was an extraordinary person. He was Foynes but he never forgot Foynes and he was in touch with me all the time,” said Margaret O’Shaughnessy director of the Foynes Flying Boat Museum.

Des, who had been living in Scotland for some time, died in hospital earlier this week following a short illness.

Having worked for Pan-Am during the flying boat era in the 1930s and 1940s, Des went on to work at Shannon, Heathrow and in West Africa.

He later took up a senior position at Prestwick Airport in Glasgow.

“He worked incredibly long hours at the airport but when he got home he was straight out to the garden where he grew so many of our fruit and vegetables. Dad loved horses. He went riding at weekends. He loved show jumping and racing. And flight. He was privileged to travel on Concorde when they were doing flight training at Prestwick,” said his daughter Elizabeth.

Pre-deceased by his wife, Mary Ann (Conroy), Des Scales is survived by daughters Elizabeth and Fionnuala; son in law Martin and his grandsons Calum and Aidan.