In Biggles in the Orient, Pilot Officer Scrimshaw was a pilot of 818 Squadron, a unit flying Hawker Hurricane fighter-bombers. When Biggles arrived in India to investigate the mysterious disappearances and crashes of R.A.F. aircraft, 818 Squadron had already been badly hit. On the morning after his arrival, the squadron had been down to 5 pilots. After a mission to bomb a bridge over the Manipur River, only Scrimshaw and Flight Lieutenant Johnny Crisp returned. What puzzled Biggles was how the two of them always returned unharmed. Scrimshaw couldn't give any explanation as he thought he always did the same thing as everybody else, whether on the ground or in the air.

Because of the strain of losing almost his entire squadron, Scrimshaw had started taking to drink around the time Biggles arrived. When 818 Squadron was all but wiped out, Air Commodore Raymond suggested attaching Crisp and Scrimshaw to Biggles' 666 Squadron. Biggles agreed to it on the condition that Scrimshaw gave up drinking.

During the big air raid on Calcutta, Scrimshaw was allocated a Hurricane. In the midst of the combat, Biggles found Scrimshaw charging straight at an enemy formation of bombers in a reckless and unorthodox manner. Scrimshaw either ignored or couldn't hear Biggles' order to break off and continued to press his attack. His Hurricane, under fire by the guns of up to a dozen enemy turrets, was probably hit, but then Scrimshaw plunged his damaged aircraft into an enemy bomber, killing himself but also destroying his adversary and causing a massive explosion in the air which helped to break up the enemy formation.

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