Remembering a wartime narrow escape

The late Flight Lieutenant Ken Trott was a pilot in the Royal Air Force during World War II, flying Hawker Typhoon fighter-bombers (roughly comparable in ground-attack capability to the US P-47 Thunderbolt fighter-bomber).

Hawker Typhoon Mark 1B, landing in Germany in 1945

In his obituary, the Telegraph had this to say about what was probably his most ‘exciting’ experience.

On the evening of July 13 [1944], four Typhoons of No 197 Squadron took off from an advanced landing ground in Normandy to carry out an armed reconnaissance sortie near Caen. Trott and his number two strafed an armoured vehicle, and were rejoining their two colleagues when a large force of Messerschmitt Bf 109s attacked.

Trott saw one of the enemy aircraft approaching him, and made a head-on attack firing his cannons. As he broke away, the starboard wing of his Typhoon struck the Bf 109. In the collision his head and shoulder struck the side of the fuselage as the canopy disappeared; his helmet, oxygen mask and goggles were torn off him, and he was catapulted into the air with only his parachute intact. Having succeeded in pulling the ripcord, Trott lost consciousness. He woke up to find himself suspended from a tree and surrounded by armed German soldiers. He spent the rest of the war as a PoW, much of the time in the hospital at Stalag Luft III.

In 1990 Trott and his wife returned to France to search for the spot where he had bailed out. When they approached a farmer and explained the reason for their visit, he revealed that, as a 12-year old boy, he had witnessed the collision of the two aircraft and Trott’s subsequent descent by parachute.

There’s more at the link.

It’s amazing that he survived, and even more amazing that so long after the war, he met a man who’d witnessed his collision!  Talk about a small world . . .


1 comment

  1. Best stories of "escape" for a WW II pilot was a German – Hans-Ulrich Rudel, the most highly decorates flyer for the Wehrmacht. Fascinating story. Shot down a bunch. Credited with more than 500 tank kills (on the Eastern front, of course) as he specialized in ground attack. His input was used in the design of the A10.

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