Title: Venturer Courageous – Group Captain Leonard Trent VC, DFC – A Biography
Author: Sanders, James
Condition: Very Good
Edition: 1st Edition
Publication Date: 1983
Cover: Hard Cover with Dust Jacket – 266 pages
Comments: The fascinating story of Group Captain Leonard Trent VC, DFC.
Group Captain Leonard Henry Trent VC DFC (14 April 1915 – 19 May 1986) was a New Zealander recipient of the Victoria Cross, the most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.
He was a 28-year-old squadron leader, Royal New Zealand Air Force, serving with No. 487 Squadron RNZAF, under Royal Air Force control when he was awarded the Victoria Cross.
On 3 May 1943 the squadron was ordered on a Ramrod diversionary bombing attack on the power station in Amsterdam, (the code Ramrod meant a bomber raid escorted by fighters aimed at destruction of a specific target in daylight). No.s 118 Sqn, 167 and 504 Squadrons of the Coltishall Wing were to escort the Venturas, and were to be met by further squadrons of No. 11 Group, Fighter Command over the Dutch coast. The Venturas were to cross the coast at sea level so as not to alert German radar, then climb.
Unfortunately the 11 Gp Mk IXs flying Rodeo 212 ahead of the Venturas arrived early and crossed the coast high—being anxious to gain a height advantage—alerting the German defences. They ran low on fuel before the Venturas arrived and had to leave. The Luftwaffe scrambled some 70 fighters in four formations, with Focke-Wulf Fw 190s to deal with the escort and Messerschmitt Bf 109s the bombers.
The escort Wing Leader, Wg Cdr Blatchford, vainly attempted to recall the bombers but they were soon hemmed in by fighters. Under constant attack by II Gruppe, Jagdgeschwader 1, 487 Squadron continued on to its target, the few surviving aircraft completing bombing runs before being shot down. The Squadron was virtually wiped out. Trent shot down a Messerschmitt Bf 109 with the forward machine guns of his plane. Immediately afterwards, his own aircraft (Ventura AJ209) was hit, went into a spin and broke up.
Squadron Leader Trent and his navigator were thrown clear at 7,000 feet and became prisoners. Trent, whose leadership was instrumental in ensuring the bombing run was completed, was awarded the Victoria Cross.