|Born||5 May 1914
Houhora, New Zealand
|Died||11 August 1943 (aged 29)|
|Service/branch||Royal New Zealand Air Force|
|Years of service||1941 – 1943|
|Unit||No. 200 Squadron RAF|
Flying Officer 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.
He joined the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) as a trainee pilot in June 1941. After attending training school in Canada, Trigg obtained his pilot's wings on 16 January 1942, and was commissioned as a Pilot Officer. After receiving further training in Lockheed Hudson aircraft he embarked for the UK in October 1942.
He was posted to West Africa in December 1942 and joined 200 Squadron RAF in January 1943. As a first pilot he took part in some 50 operational reconnaissance patrols, convoy escort flights and anti-submarine patrols. The squadron later converted to the maritime version of the B-24 Liberator. He was an experienced pilot (he had already been awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross) while attached to 200 Squadron, 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), when on 11 August 1943 he engaged the German submarine U-468 under the command of Oberleutnant Klemens Schamong.
It then crashed 300 yards behind its victim, killing Trigg and his crew. The only witnesses to his high courage were the U-boat crew members. Since Trigg has no burial place, he is commemorated on the Malta Memorial to the 2,298 Commonwealth aircrew who lost their lives around the Mediterranean during the Second World War and who have no known grave.
The badly damaged U-boat sank soon after the attack with the loss of 42 hands but seven survivors (including Schamong) were spotted by an RAF Short Sunderland of No. 204 Squadron in the dinghy of the crashed Liberator, drifting off the coast of West Africa. They were rescued by a Royal Navy vessel HMS Clakia the next day and Schamong reported the incident, recommending Trigg be decorated for his bravery. The citation reads as follows:
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 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.
The Victoria Cross was presented to Trigg's widow by the Governor General of New Zealand, Sir Cyril Newall, on 28 May 1944.
In 2007, New Zealand researcher Arthur Arculus tracked down Klemens Schamong near Kiel. The commander said about Trigg's effort "such a gallant fighter as Trigg would have been decorated in Germany with the highest medal or order".
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 medals were purchased on behalf of the Michael Ashcroft Trust, the holding institution for Lord Ashcroft's VC Collection. The VC is now on display at the Lord Ashcroft Gallery at the Imperial War Museum.
Trigg's complete medal awards are:
- The Victoria Cross
- The Distinguished Flying Cross
- The 1939-45 Star
- The Atlantic Star
- The Defence Medal
- The War Medal 1939-45
- The New Zealand War Service Medal
- The London Gazette: . 15 June 1943. Retrieved 2007-12-19.
- Casualty details—Trigg, Lloyd Alan, Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Retrieved on 29 October 2008.
- The London Gazette: . 29 October 1943. Retrieved 2007-12-19.
- "U-boat captain who shot down NZ VC-winner found". NZPA. Retrieved 2007-11-25.
- German Captain's Report
- New Zealand Electronic Text Centre - a more detailed report of the action.
- Lloyd Trigg in a listing of New Zealanders who have won the VC at the Wayback Machine (archived October 26, 2009)
- Lloyd Trigg in a listing of New Zealanders who have won the VC - with a picture of his medals.
- Burial location of Lloyd Trigg "Aircraft crashed into the sea, no known grave".
- News item" Lloyd Trigg's Victoria Cross sold at auction".
- NZPA release "U-boat captain who shot down NZ VC-winner found".