Lloyd Allan Trigg

Lloyd Allan Trigg

F/O Lloyd Allan Trigg VC DFC (5 May 1914–11 August 1943), of Houhora, New Zealand, was a pilot in the RNZAF. He was a posthumous recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest award for gallantry in the face of the enemy for British and Commonwealth armed forces. His award is unique, as it was awarded on evidence solely provided by the enemy, for an action in which there were no surviving Allied witnesses to corroborate his gallantry.

Trigg was an experienced pilot (he had already been awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross) [LondonGazette|issue=36059|supp=yes|startpage=2769|endpage=2770|date=15 June 1943|accessdate=2007-12-19] attached to 200 Squadron RAF, operating with Coastal Command. He was flying his first operational flight in a Liberator V (having previously flown Hudsons), over the Atlantic from his base in Bathurst, West Africa (now Banjul, The Gambia), on 11 August 1943 when he engaged the German submarine U-468, under the command of Klemens Schamong.

His aircraft received several catastrophic hits from the anti-aircraft guns during his approach to drop depth charges and was on fire as Trigg made his final attack. It then crashed, killing Trigg and his crew, so the only witnesses to his high courage were the U-boat crew members.

The U-boat sank but the seven survivors were rescued by a Royal Navy vessel and the captain reported the incident, recommending Trigg be decorated for his bravery. The Victoria Cross was awarded posthumously.

In May 1998, Trigg's VC was sold at auction by Spinks of London for £120,000, the equal highest price ever realised for a VC at that time. The seller was not believed to have been a relative of Trigg and the buyer was anonymous.

New Zealand researcher Arthur Arculus recently tracked down the German commander Klemens Schamong, who lives today near Kiel.


The full citation was published in a supplement to the London Gazette of 29 October 1943 (dated 2 November 1943): [LondonGazette|issue=36230|supp=yes|startpage=4813|date=29 October 1943|accessdate=2007-12-19]

cquote|"Air Ministry, 2nd November, 1943."

The KING has been graciously pleased to confer the VICTORIA CROSS on the undermentioned officer in recognition of most conspicuous bravery: —

Flying Officer Lloyd Allan TRIGG, D.F.C. (N.Z.413515), Royal New Zealand Air Force (missing, believed killed), No. 200 Squadron.

Flying Officer Trigg had rendered outstanding service on convoy escort and antisubmarine duties. He had completed 46 operational sorties and had invariably displayed skill and courage of a very high order.

One day in August 1943, Flying Officer Trigg undertook, as captain and pilot, a patrol in a Liberator although he had not previously made any operational sorties in that type of aircraft. After searching for 8 hours a surfaced U-boat was sighted.

Flying Officer Trigg immediately prepared to attack. During the approach, the aircraft received many hits from the submarine's anti-aircraft guns and burst into flames, which quickly enveloped the tail.

The moment was critical. Flying Officer Trigg could have broken off the engagement and made a forced landing in the sea. But if he continued the attack, the aircraft would present a "no deflection" target to deadly accurate anti-aircraft fire, and every second spent in the air would increase the extent and intensity of the flames and diminish hischances of survival.

There could have been no hesitation or doubt in his mind. He maintained his course in spite of the already precarious condition of his aircraft and executed a masterly attack. Skimming over the U-boat at less than 50 feet with anti-aircraft fire entering his opened bomb doors, Flying Officer Trigg dropped his bombs on and around the U-boat where they exploded with davastatingsic effect. A short distance further on the Liberator dived into the sea with her gallant captain and crew.

The U-boat sank within 20 minutes and some of her crew were picked up later in a rubber dinghy that had broken loose from the Liberator.

The Battle of the Atlantic has yielded many fine stories of air attacks on underwater craft, but Flying Officer Trigg's exploit stands out as an epic of grim determination and high courage. His was the path of duty that leads to glory.


External links

* [http://www.nzetc.org/tm/scholarly/tei-WH2-2Epi-c5-WH2-2Epi-a.html New Zealand Electronic Text Centre] - a more detailed report of the action.
* [http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/Park/7572/nzvcross.txt Lloyd Trigg in a listing of New Zealanders who have won the VC]
* [http://www.diggerhistory.info/pages-medals/nz-vc-winners.htm Lloyd Trigg in a listing of New Zealanders who have won the VC] - with a picture of his medals.
* [http://www.victoriacross.org.uk/ggatsea.htm Burial location of Lloyd Trigg] "Aircraft crashed into the sea, no known grave".
* [http://www.victoriacross.org.uk/bbtrigg.htm News item] " Lloyd Trigg's Victoria Cross sold at auction".
* [http://www.ww2aircraft.net/forum/ww2-general/u-boat-captain-who-shot-down-nz-vc-winner-found-7724.html NZPA release] "U-boat captain who shot down NZ VC-winner found".

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