Richard M. Trevethan

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Richard Michael Trevethan
Born (1895-01-24)24 January 1895
Park City, Utah, USA
Died 30 December 1971(1971-12-30) (aged 76)
Truro, Cornwall, England
Allegiance United Kingdom
Service/branch British Army
Royal Air Force
Years of service 1914–1935
Rank Squadron Leader
Commands held No. 440 (Fleet Reconnaissance) Flight
Flying and Parachute Test Squadron
Battles/wars World War I
 • Gallipoli Campaign
 • Western Front
Northern Russian Expedition
Chanak Crisis
World War II
Awards Military Cross
Order of St. Anna, 2nd class (Russia)

Squadron Leader Richard Michael Trevethan MC (24 January 1895 – 30 December 1971) was a British World War I flying ace credited with twelve aerial victories.[1]

Early life and background[edit]

Richard Trevethan was born in Park City, Utah in 1895, to Michael Trevethan and his wife Clara Emma (née Pearce).[1] The Trevethan's were a long established family from Perranzabuloe in Cornwall,[2][3] an area with a strong mining tradition.[4] This may have been what took his parents to the United States, as Park City had been established as a mining town.[5] However, by 1901 the family had returned to Cornwall, and were residing at St Kew.[1] Trevethan attended Falmouth Grammar School, Portsmouth Grammar School, and the Imperial College of Science, London.[6]

World War I service[edit]

On 22 September 1914, Trevethan was commissioned a temporary second lieutenant[7] and served in the 6th Battalion, South Lancashire Regiment,[8] seeing active service in France and in the Gallipoli Campaign in 1915.[9][10]

On 14 May 1917, Trevethan was transferred the General List to serve in the Royal Flying Corps,[11] and was posted to No. 20 Squadron RFC to fly a two-seater F.E.2.d fighter.[1] His first aerial victory came on 2 June 1917, with AM2 John Cowell as his gunner, and he gained his second a week later, on 9 June, with Second Lieutenant M. Dudbridge.[1] He was promoted to lieutenant on 1 July 1917,[12] and then ran up a string of ten more victories between 2 July and 9 August, all but one with Lieutenant Campbell Hoy as his gunner. In total, Trevethan was credited with destroying six Albatros fighters and driving down another six out of control.[1]

On 17 August 1917 Trevethan was awarded the Military Cross, which was presented to him in the field by General Sir Herbert Plumer, but not gazetted until 17 September. The citation read:

Temporary Second Lieutenant Richard Michael Trevethan, General List and Royal Flying Corps.
"For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty when on offensive patrols. He has continuously displayed the greatest dash and determination in attacking enemy formations, regardless of their superiority in numbers, and has shot down at least four, driving others down out of control."[13]

His squadron was then re-equipped with the new Bristol F.2 two-seater fighter, but on 18 September 1917, Trevethan was badly wounded. He returned to England to recover, and does not appear to have seen any further active service during the war.[6][14]

List of aerial victories[edit]

Combat record[1]
No. Date/Time Aircraft/
Serial No.
Opponent Result Location Notes
1 2 June 1917
@ 0945
Albatros D.III Destroyed Gheluvelt Observer: Air Mechanic 2nd Class John Cowell
2 9 June 1917
@ 0600
Albatros D.III Destroyed in flames East of Ploegsteert Observer: Second Lieutenant M. Dudbridge
3 2 July 1917
@ 1245
Albatros D.III Out of control Comines-Houthem Observer: Lieutenant Campbell Hoy
4 7 July 1917
@ 1900
Albatros D.III Destroyed in flames Wervicq Observer: Lieutenant Campbell Hoy
5 12 July 1917
@ 1725
Albatros D.V Destroyed in flames East of Ploegsteert Wood Observer: Private Arkley
6 17 July 1917
@ 1955
Albatros D.V Destroyed Ploegsteert Wood Observer: Lieutenant Campbell Hoy
7 22 July 1917
@ 1650
Albatros D.V Destroyed in flames Menin–North of Wervicq Observer: Lieutenant Campbell Hoy
8 27 July 1917
@ 1945–2045
Albatros D.V Out of control Lille–Menin Observer: Lieutenant Campbell Hoy
9 28 July 1917
@ 0915
Albatros D.V Out of control Kezelbars Observer: Lieutenant Campbell Hoy
10 8 August 1917
@ 1030–1040
Albatros D.V Out of control East of Messines Observer: Lieutenant Campbell Hoy
11 Albatros D.V Out of control
12 9 August 1917
@ 0950
Albatros D.V Out of control Becelaere–Roulers Observer: Lieutenant Campbell Hoy

Post-war career[edit]

On 1 August 1919, Trevethan was granted a permanent commission as a flying officer in the Royal Air Force.[15] On 22 December 1919, he received a mention in despatches[16] while serving with the British "Syren Force" in Murmansk, northern Russia, during the Allied intervention in the Russian Civil War. He was also awarded the Order of St. Anna, 2nd class, by the Russians.[6]

He then served in No. 207 Squadron RAF, receiving promotion to flight lieutenant in the 1922 New Year Honours.[17] In September 1922 Trevethan was about to be reassigned to the RAF School of Photography,[18] but this was cancelled,[19] when No. 207 Squadron was sent to Turkey as a result of the Chanak Crisis. Trevethan, in command of the advance party, travelled from RAF Bircham Newton in Norfolk, to Liverpool, where the squadron and its aircraft were loaded onto the steamships Eboe and Khartoum, and sailed for Constantinople, arriving on 11 October. The squadron, under the command of Squadron Leader Arthur Tedder, had considerable difficulties unloading, reassembling, and operating their Airco DH.9A aircraft, due to the lack of facilities and the poor state of the airfield at San Stefano. However, the crisis was eventually settled by negotiation, and the squadron returned to England in August 1923, proceeding to its new home at RAF Eastchurch.[20]

On 22 October 1923 Trevethan was posted to No. 39 Squadron, also flying the DH.9A, based at RAF Spitalgate,[21] until reassigned to the RAF Depot at Uxbridge on 24 August 1925.[22] On 21 September 1926 he was posted to the headquarters of Iraq Command,[23] serving as Senior Meteorological Officer,[6] until returning to the RAF Depot at Uxbridge on 26 January 1929.[24] He was posted to No. 100 Squadron, based at RAF Bicester on 4 June 1929,[25] and then from August 1931 until April 1933 (when it became 824 Naval Air Squadron) he commanded No. 440 (Fleet Reconnaissance) Flight, flying Fairey IIIF biplanes, and alternating between RAF Kai Tak, Hong Kong, and the carrier HMS Hermes,[26][27] also receiving a promotion to squadron leader on 1 December 1932.[28] He then commanded the Flying and Parachute Test Squadron at the RAF Home Aircraft Depot at RAF Henlow from November 1934[29] until retiring from the RAF on 1 June 1935.[30]

In 1937, he became Air Advisor to the Kwantung Government in China. During the Second World War, he was attached to the Admiralty, serving as mate and second officer in Royal Navy small ships. Post-war he was made a Fellow of the Royal Meteorological Society, a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, and was for many years Superintendent of the Falmouth Meteorological Observatory.[6]

Trevethan died on 30 December 1971,[31] at the Royal Cornwall Hospital, Treliske, Truro.[6]

Personal life[edit]

In 1920 Trevethan married Muriel Doris Moon, the daughter of Major Wilfred Graham Moon, and granddaughter of Sir Edward Moon, but they were divorced in 1936.[32] They had a son, Gerald Michael Trevethan.[2]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Richard Michael Trevethan". The Aerodrome. 2016. Retrieved 21 March 2016. 
  2. ^ a b Trevathan, Kenneth (2016). "Trevathan family tree (No.39)" (PDF). Retrieved 21 March 2016. 
  3. ^ Haigh, Les (2012). "Trevethan Families Perranzabuloe Area". Retrieved 21 March 2016. 
  4. ^ Haigh, Les (2008). "Perranzabuloe". Retrieved 21 March 2016. 
  5. ^ "History of Park City". 2013. Retrieved 21 March 2016. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f "Lot 407". Dix Noonan Webb. 18 June 1997. Retrieved 21 March 2016. 
  7. ^ "no. 28910". The London Gazette. 22 September 1914. p. 7489. 
  8. ^ "Private Papers: Squadron Leader R. M. Trevethan, MC". Imperial War Museum. 2016. Retrieved 21 March 2016. 
  9. ^ Baker, Chris (2015). "The South Lancashire Regiment in 1914–1918". The Long, Long Trail: The British Army in the Great War. Retrieved 21 March 2016. 
  10. ^ "South Lancashire Regiment 6th Btn in the Great War". The Wartime Memories Project. 2016. Retrieved 21 March 2016. 
  11. ^ "(Supplement) no. 30115". The London Gazette. 5 June 1917. p. 5580. 
  12. ^ "(Supplement) no. 30262". The London Gazette. 31 August 1917. p. 9088. 
  13. ^ "(Supplement) no. 30287". The London Gazette. 14 September 1917. p. 9585. 
  14. ^ "Roll of Honour: Wounded". Flight. IX (458): 1028. 4 October 1917. Retrieved 21 March 2016. 
  15. ^ "no. 31669". The London Gazette. 2 December 1919. p. 14924. 
  16. ^ "(Supplement) no. 31703". The London Gazette. 19 December 1919. p. 15842. 
  17. ^ "(Supplement) no. 32563". The London Gazette. 30 December 1921. p. 10720. 
  18. ^ "Royal Air Force: Appointments". Flight. XIV (715): 521. 7 September 1922. Retrieved 21 March 2016. 
  19. ^ "Royal Air Force: Appointments". Flight. XIV (721): 617. 19 October 1922. Retrieved 21 March 2016. 
  20. ^ Yoxall, John (17 April 1953). "No. 207 Squadron: History of a Famous Bomber Unit (Part I)". Flight. LXIII (2308): 486–490. Retrieved 21 March 2016. 
  21. ^ "Royal Air Force: Appointments". Flight. XV (663): 774. 25 October 1923. Retrieved 21 March 2016. 
  22. ^ "Royal Air Force: Appointments". Flight. XVII (873): 605. 17 September 1925. Retrieved 21 March 2016. 
  23. ^ "Royal Air Force: Appointments". Flight. XVIII (681): 929. 14 October 1926. Retrieved 21 March 2016. 
  24. ^ "Royal Air Force: Appointments". Flight. XXI (1056): 249. 21 March 1929. Retrieved 21 March 2016. 
  25. ^ "Royal Air Force: Appointments". Flight. XXI (1068): 493. 13 June 1929. Retrieved 21 March 2016. 
  26. ^ Barrass, M. B. (2015). "No 440 (Fleet Reconnaissance) Flight". Air of Authority – A History of RAF Organisation. Retrieved 21 March 2016. 
  27. ^ Barrass, M. B. (2015). "No. 824 Squadron Personnel, aircraft and locations". Air of Authority – A History of RAF Organisation. Retrieved 21 March 2016. 
  28. ^ "no. 33889". The London Gazette. 6 December 1932. p. 7748. 
  29. ^ "Royal Air Force: Appointments". Flight. XXVI (1355): 1332. 13 December 1934. Retrieved 21 March 2016. 
  30. ^ "no. 34167". The London Gazette. 4 June 1935. p. 3625. 
  31. ^ "no. 45585". The London Gazette. 31 January 1972. p. 1264. 
  32. ^ Mosley, Charles, ed. (2003). Burke's Peerage, Baronetage & Knightage. 2 (107th ed.). Wilmington, Delaware: Burke's Peerage (Genealogical Books) Ltd. p. 2757. Retrieved 21 March 2014.