Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Honored Allies Wednesday: Lloyd A. Trigg (New Zealand)

"Flying Officer Trigg had rendered outstanding service on convoy escort and anti-submarine 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 his chances 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 devastating 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." 

From Flying Officer Trigg's Victoria Cross citation, awarded on 29 October 1943.
A brave ally,

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