The Airmen's Stories - P/O R M Trousdale
Richard Macklow Trousdale was born on 23rd January 1921 at the Old Mission House in Waimate North, New Zealand. In February 1938 he applied for a short service commission and, after being provisionally accepted in November, he sailed for the UK on 1st February 1939 in the RMS Tainui.
On 16th March Trousdale began his initial training at 11 E&RFTS Perth, went to Uxbridge for a short induction course on 13th May and then to 9 ITS Hullavington on the 27th. He applied for training as a heavy bomber pilot and at the end of the course Trousdale was sent to 10 Air Observers School, Warmwell for a month's practical bombing and air firing. Trousdale was posted to newly-formed 266 Squadron at Sutton Bridge on 6th November 1939. The squadron was due to be equipped with Blenheim bombers but in the event was re-designated a fighter squadron and the pilots had to convert to Spitfires.
In late May 1940 the squadron began flying patrols over Dunkirk. On 2nd June Trousdale destroyed a Me110 and probably a Me109. He probably destroyed a Me109 on 16th August, probably another on the 18th, shared a Do17 on 7th September and destroyed another Me109 on 29th October.
(Above (L to R: F/Lt. PW Rabone, Trousdale, F/Lt. JR Gard'ner)
He was posted away on 23rd November 1940 to 255 Squadron, then reforming with Defiants at Kirton-in-Lindsey, as a Flight Commander. He destroyed a He111 off Spurn Head at night on 10th February 1941, was awarded the DFC (gazetted 4th March 1941) and destroyed two more He111's on the night of May 8th/9th.
On 20th July 1941 Trousdale was posted to HQ 12 Group for staff duties connected with night operations. He returned to operations on 1st October and joined 409 (RCAF) Squadron at Coleby Grange as a Flight Commander. Trousdale damaged a Do17 on the 20th. He destroyed a He111 during the night of March 8th/9th 1942 and a Do217 on April 7th/8th. He was awarded a Bar to the DFC.
Promoted to Acting Wing Commander, Trousdale went to Church Fenton on 9th July to form and command 488 Squadron. On 18th February 1943 he destroyed a railway engine on an intruder operation and also damaged two barges. He was posted to HQ 13 Group on the 20th as Wing Commander Training. He left there on 13th March 1944 to go to the A&AEE at Boscombe Down where he flew a great variety of aircraft, from Tiger Moths to Lancasters. He also attended technical courses and took a test pilot's course. Trousdale transferred to the RNZAF on 19th January 1945. He was posted to TFU Defford on 5th March where he flew many twin and four-engined types of aircraft. He returned to New Zealand in January 1946 with his family. Trousdale was granted a Permanent Commission in the RNZAF on 29th April 1947.
In May he returned to the UK with another pilot to collect two Mosquitos and ferry them back to New Zealand. On 16th May he was acting as second pilot, carrying out a dual instrument and flight check in Mosquito T3 TV965 from RAF Pershore, with a RAF officer as instructor. Whilst going through the exercise involving single-engined flight at a low altitude the aircraft stalled and crashed at Throckmorton, Worcestershire. Trousdale and F/Lt. AC White DFC were killed.
Trousdale was buried at Haycombe Cemetery, Bath.
(Above photograph courtesy of Jonathan Morford and Captain Robert L Koprowski, US Army (Veteran))