b. 05/05/1914 Houhora, New Zealand. d. 11/08/1943 at sea off Africa.
Lloyd Allan Trigg (1914-1943), the son of Arthur and Cecelia Louisa Trigg (nee White), was born at Houhora, Northland, New Zealand on 5th May 1914. His father was a farmer. Lloyd received his secondary education at Whangarei High School, and proved to be an excellent sportsman, playing rugby for his school first XV, and rose to the rank of Company Sergeant Major in the school cadet unit. Gaining entrance to the Auckland University College, he later returned to farming and became a non-commissioned officer in the North Auckland Rifles Regiment, a territorial force. In the following years Trigg travelled the Northland extensively, part of the time as a sales representative for a firm of agricultural machinery manufacturers.
Since boyhood, he was fascinated with flying, and had occasionally toyed with the idea of joining the New Zealand Air Force; but in January 1938 he married Nola McGarvey and settled in the Victoria Valley in North Auckland, becoming the father of two sons, John and Wayne, born in April 1939 and July 1940 respectively. The outbreak of war in Europe had an immediate impact on the people of New Zealand, at that period closely linked with Britain and the global empire. Lloyd then enlisted with the New Zealand Air Service.
Joining on 15th June 1941, Trigg was first sent to the Initial Training Wing at Levin, then on 27th July was posted to No 3 EFTS, Harewood to commence pilot training. On 22nd September under the Empiire Training Scheme, Trigg left New Zealand bound for Canada, where, on 11th October, he began his final novitiate training at 12 SFTS, Brandon in Manitoba. Graduating on 16th January 1942, Trigg was awarded his pilot “wings” and was commissioned as a Pilot Officer the same day; and in the following month sent to No 31 General Reconnaissance School, Charlottestown on Prince Edward Island for conversion training to Lockheed Hudson bombers. After this course, he gathered together his future crew; was promoted to Flying Officer on 1st October 1942; and sailed for England for posting.
His stay in England was short, and at the end of November he proceeded to North Africa; joining 200 Squadron on the first day of 1943. Equipped with Hudsons, 200 Squadron at this time was based at Yundum airfield, some 4 miles inland from the mouth of the Gambia River, near Bathurst, roughly 100 miles south of Dakar. Just 10 days after joining the squadron, he flew his first operational sortie, an anti-submarine patrol with a three man crew. By the end of February, he had completed a further 8 sorties. He was gazetted for the award of the DFC on 16th June 1943 (though this was after his death).
In May, the squadron received news they were to exchange their Hudsons to American Liberators, and three crews, including Trigg’s, were detached to the newly formed Liberator OTU at Nassau in the Bahamas for conversion training, and at the same time to “pick up” the necessary extra crew members – a second pilot and three wireless operator/air gunners – to fill a Liberator crew. On completion of training, they were sent to Dorval, Quebec, to take over the specific Liberators earmarked for 200 Squadron, and flew back to Yundum.
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 11th August 1943 when he engaged the German submarine U-468 under the command of Oberleutnant Klemens Schamong. His aircraft received several catastrophic hits from the submarine’s anti-aircraft guns during its approach to drop depth charges and was on fire as Trigg made his final attack. 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. 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”.
Trigg, based on the recommendations of Schamong and his First Lieutenant Alfons Heimannsberg, was awarded a posthumous VC on 2nd November 1943. 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.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: LORD ASHCROFT GALLERY, IMPERIAL WAR MUSEUM, LONDON.
BURIAL PLACE: NO KNOWN GRAVE – ON MALTA MEMORIAL. PANEL 12 COLUMN 1.
Thomas Stewart – Images of the Malta Memorial.