Image: courtesy of Shropshire Star
Highly decorated Mosquito pilot, ‘Johnnie’ Trotman to celebrate his 100th birthday by taking to the skies, piloting his own aircraft!
Being the recipient of not one, but two Distinguished Flying Cross awards, together with other decorations too numerous to mention here, John ‘Johnnie’ Trotman is a highly respected pilot of Mosquito aircraft during the war, who celebrates his 100th birthday this coming Thursday, 9th September.
Here are just two of his citations.
“One night in December 1944, Flying Officer Trotman was captain of an aircraft detailed to attack Ludwigshaven. Shortly after leaving the target area, the starboard engine failed, and soon after the port engine became defective and lost power. Considerable height was lost and it seemed as though the aircraft would have to be abandoned. The defective port engine suddenly resumed full power, however, and Flying Officer Trotman flew the aircraft to an airfield in France where he executed a safe landing with the undercarriage retracted. This officer has displayed commendable gallantry and outstanding skill and has at all times proved himself a cool and resolute captain.”
“Flight Lieutenant Trotman has participated in numerous sorties since the award of the Distinguished Flying Cross. He has completed a second tour of operations against heavily defended targets in Germany including 19 attacks against Berlin. At all times he has set an inspiring example and as captain of an aircraft, his skill and determination have been most marked.”
Second DFC awarded as a bar for on the ribbon of the first DFC.
John’s exploits were recounted in a 2011 autobiography,
“J For Johnnie,” which was a collaboration with Telford author,
We have SIGNED COPIES available in our online store here.
In the course of 5½ years, he clocked up over 2,000 flying hours, completed two operational tours, flew 70 sorties and walked away from three crashes – an extraordinary record. His recollections of these missions, plus many other details of his activities at the time, combine to paint a vivid picture of the life of a wartime bomber pilot.
His first tour was with 150 Squadron, based at RAF Snaith in Yorkshire, flying a Vickers Wellington III (call-sign ‘J’ for Johnnie) to attack many German cities, including Cologne, Hamburg, Munich and Ludwigshafen. After a spell as a flying instructor at RAF Tilstock and RAF Peplow, he volunteered for a second operational tour and was soon flying a de Havilland Mosquito XVI with 692 Squadron, based at RAF Graveley in Cambridgeshire as part of the Pathfinder Force.
Since leaving the RAF, John established an executive career with the Hoover Corporation, working in their international division, which involved long spells in the USA and Canada before returning to England. On retirement, he took up regular flying lessons to keep active, flying his first solo since the war in 2005, at the tender age of 83.
He still flies regularly today from Sleap Aerodrome in Shropshire, which is near his home outside of Market Drayton.
Although his age and medical restrictions means he has to fly with a safety pilot, he is still very much ‘Pilot in Command’ remaining at the controls during take-off and landing. His pilot friend and regular right-seat ‘passenger’ states:
“John just loves bimbling along at a low (legal) level, taking in the views across the rolling countryside.”
You can watch a flight John took for his 99th birthday on the BBC site here:
How wonderful that a man of such courage and skill can still be enjoying the wonders of flight, today.
It is understood that local press and media are very interested in covering John’s story and the 100th birthday flight.
The weather does seem to be set fair, so keep a lookout for him on local and national news channels.
We send our hearty congratulations to John on the occasion of his 100th Birthday and wish him continued good health for many more years of aviation enjoyment.
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TPM Airshow Appearances
Abingdon Air & County Show – September 11th (Stand S12)
IWM Duxford Battle of Britain Airshow – September 18th & 19th
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