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Military.com remembers D-Day
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Soldiers' Stories: Kenneth Trott, part 1 

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My name is Kenneth Trott of 5 Keith Road, Talbot Woods,
Bournemouth, England. The date is the 19th of February, 1992. 

I was born in Ilford, London, England on the 28th of December 1922. I volunteered for the RAF in April 1941, age18 and joined the RAF Volunteer Reserve in September 1941 as a Trainee Cadet Pilot. 

During my training, I held the rank of Leading Aircraftsman. I did my initial training on ground subjects at Torquay, Devon, England, before being posted overseas to Canada for flying training. 

I went solo at Windsor Mills Airfield near Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada flying Fleet Finch Biplanes. Later I was posted to St. Hubert, Montreal, for advanced flying on North American A.T. 6 Trainer. In September of 1942, I received my pilots' wings and was also commissioned as a pilot officer. I was finally demobilized in November 1946 in the substantive rank of Flight Lieutenant.  

On my return to England in October 1942, I was posted firstly to Peterborough Flying Masters, and in early 1943 to Millfield, near Berwick On Tweed in Northumberland to fly Hawker Hurricanes.  

I was then posted to 195 Squadron in April 1943, which was stationed at Woodvale Airfield near South Port, Cheshire and equipped with Typhoon single seat fighters.  Soon after, the squadron was moved to Norfolk, where I spent several months doing operation patrols over the North Sea and Holland. 

In September, my squadron was again moved, this time to Fairlop Essex Airfield, just outside London. We then carried out operations over France, often flying down to Manston Airfield in Kent for briefing. in early 1944, 195 squadron was disbanded and I moved to 197 Squadron  stationed at Tangmere West Sussex Airfield on the south coast of England.

 The Typhoons were then equipped with bomb racks under each wing to take 500 or 1000 pound bombs.  Our main operational work was attacking radar and V-1 sites, as well as being on escort and standby duties. 

In April, we moved to Needs Oar Point near the Beaulieu River overlooking the Solent & Isle of Wight and became part of the 2nd Tactical Air Force. 197 Squadron, along with numbers 257, 266, and 193, then became known as 146 Wing, all operating from the same airfield in preparation for D-Day. 

In May 1944, we were constantly called upon to make attacks against radar targets along the coast of France, as well as the V-1 sites. I have no entry in my flying log book for the 2nd or 4th of June. This may have been due to the bad weather which we had about that time. 

On the 3rd of June, we made a high  level dive bombing attack on the radar site at Cap D'Antifer, not far from Le Havre, France.  This involved our crossing over the French Coast, high enough to avoid the light flak, and then turning 180 degrees in a dive bombing attack on the German radar sites with a final burst of our cannon fire before leveling out over the sea at approximately five hundred knots. Then forming up in sections of four in battle formation for our return home. Total flying time was 1 hour, 15 minutes.  

Later in the day, orders were received to paint the broad black and white invasion stripes on the wings and fuselage of our Typhoons, hopefully to identify friend from foe, both in the air and on the ground. Needless to say, a lot of paint was splashed around by both pilots and ground crew and a great sense of anticipation was felt by everyone. 

On the 5th of June, I started off by air testing one of our new typhoons, which had just been delivered. This was one of the first four bladed types which had begun to arrive on the Squadron.  In the evening of D-Day - 1, we carried out another operation over the French Coast. I noted in my log book "large convoys of LCTs seen heading toward Cherbourg." 

In fact, the Channel was covered with boats of various kinds,  a fantastic sight and it seemed impossible that the Germans did not know what we were up to. On our return to Needs Oar Point Airfield, England, all squadron pilots were told to attend a large mess tent where a covered blackboard was set up. We were then informed by the senior officer present that tomorrow, the 6th of June, would be D-Day.  

The blackboard was then unveiled to reveal the proposed landings, etc.  We were told to turn in early, as we should be on call from approximately 4 a.m. the next morning. Needless to say, the roar of aircraft going overhead towards France made sleep almost impossible in our tents. 

We all took an early breakfast and reported to our various dispersals, where the ground crew were already running up the Sabre engines of our Typhoons and then refueling them while we awaited the first calls to briefing and also listened to the BBC radio broadcasts. 

My squadron, 197 was first involved at 0710, eight aircraft being led by Wing Commander Baker, who later lost his life over Normandy on the 16th of June.  They attacked targets in a low level attack south of Bayeux and all returned safely at 0820.      

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Kenneth Trott, part 1  

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