TRENT Leonard Henry
NZ2481, Squadron Leader, No 487 (RNZAF) Squadron

CITATION:
Victoria Cross
On the 3rd May, 1943, Squadron Leader TRENT was detailed to lead a formation of Ventura aircraft in a daylight attack on the power station at
Amsterdam. This operation was intended to encourage the Dutch workmen in their resistance to enemy pressure. The target was known to be
heavily defended. The importance of bombing it, regardless of enemy fighters or anti-aircraft fire, was strongly impressed on the air crews taking part
in the operation. Before taking off, Squadron Leader TRENT told the deputy leader that he was going over the target, whatever happened.

All went well until the eleven Venturas and their fighter escort were nearing the Dutch coast. Then one bomber was hit and had to turn back.
Suddenly, large numbers of enemy fighters appeared. Our escorting fighters were hotly engaged and lost touch with the bombing force. The
Venturas closed up for mutual protection and commenced their run up to the target. Unfortunately, the fighters detailed to support them over the
target had reached the area too early and had been recalled.

Soon the bombers were attacked. They were at the mercy of 15 to 20 Messerschmitts which dived on them incessantly. Within four minutes six
Venturas were destroyed. Squadron Leader Trent continued on his course with the three remaining aircraft.  In a short time two more Venturas went
down in flames. Heedless of the murderous attacks and of the heavy anti-aircraft fire which was now encountered, Squadron Leader TRENT
completed an accurate bombing run and even shot down a Messerschmitt at point-blank range. Dropping his bombs in the target area, he turned
away. The aircraft following him was shot down on reaching the target. Immediately afterwards his own aircraft was hit, went into a spin and broke up.  Squadron Leader Trent and his navigator were thrown clear and became prisoners of war. The other two members of the crew perished.  On this, his 24th sortie, Squadron Leader Trent showed outstanding leadership. Such was the trust placed in this gallant officer that the other pilots followed him unwaveringly. His cool, unflinching courage and devotion to duty in the face of overwhelming odds rank with the finest examples of these virtues

CITATION
Distinguished Flying Cross
On 15 May 1940 this officer led a section of aircraft in a dive attack on targets in Maastricht in face of enemy anti-aircraft and fighter opposition.  He displayed great courage and determination.   He has led a further six successful raids

AWARDS
Victoria Cross
Distinguished Flying Cross
1939-45 Star
Atlantic Star
Defence Medal
War Medal 1939-45
NZ War Service Medal


NOTES
Born 14 April 1915, Nelson, New Zealand
Died 19 May 1986, North Shore Hospital, Auckland, New Zealand
Cremated at North Shore Crematorium, Auckland, Auckland City, New Zealand
TRENT's ashes were returned to Western Australia, where they were interred at Fremantle Cemetery alongside those of his daughter, Judith, who had died in 1983 at the age of 31

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