40271 Pilot Officer Horace (Horrie[i]) Arthur Trenchard – Royal Air Force

Horace Arthur Trenchard was born in 5th March 1912 the only child of Mary Cecilia (nee Hutchinson) and Horace Arthur Trenchard[ii]. 

The older Horace was a grain merchant who had immigrated to New Zealand from Surrey, England in 1903 and initially
was based in the Christchurch area. Ill health TB forced an early retirement and he moved to Wellington[iii] where he
meet and on 4th January 1911 married Mary. Horace died of TB on 19th June 1911 and is buried in Upper Hutt.

Horace Arthur Trenchard was named in honour of his late father and grew up in Johnsonville going to the Johnsonville School for his primary education. In 1926 Horace went to the Waitaki Boys School, Oamaru, as a day boarder. Horace attended Waitaki for four years where he excelled at sports, tennis, boxing, cricket and rugby. Horace was also enrolled in the College Cadets attaining the rank of Battery Sergeant.[iv]

Horace was then employed as an assistant clerk at the Wellington Meat Export Company in the Wool Department, preparing wool samples. During this period Horace began flying with the Wellington Aero Club and the Wairarapa Aero Club. Horace also continued to play rugby being in the Johnsonville Rugby Clubs senior team.

Horace and his mother moved to Tawa Flat in the mid 1930’s[v] where he was the secretary of both the Tawa Tennis Club and the Tawa Flat School Committee.

In 1937 Horace moved to a clerical position in the Wellington Harbour Board associated
with the export of wool. Horace also obtained on 14th April 1937 his “A” pilots license.
The granting of the license would assist in his application in February 1937 for a short
service commission in the Royal Air Force. On 28th May 1937 the Evening Post carried a
list of men who had been selected for short term commissions to either the Royal New
Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) or direct entry to the Royal Air Force (RAF), H.A. Trenchard is
listed as one of 18 selected for the RAF.

                                                                                                Horace Arthur Trenchard 1937

Horace left New Zealand with the other RAF candidates on the SS Rotorua on 12th July
1937 departed New Zealand. In England, on 24th August 1937 Horace was granted a
short term commission for 4 years as 40271 Acting Pilot Officer Trenchard, on probation
in the General Duties Branch Royal Air Force and began training at Civil Flying Schools
and the No 9 Flying School, Hullavington, Wiltshire, England. On 3rd June 1938 Acting PO
Richard was posted for ferry pilot duties at Cardington, Bedfordshire and later Felton
near Bristol. While undertaking these ferry duties on 24th August 1938 Acting PO Trenchard was confirmed as a Pilot Officer[vi].

                                                                                          On the outbreak of World War Two on 1st September 1939 PO                                                                                                              Trenchard was still on ferry pilot duties but on 20th October 1939 was                                                                                                 posted to 19 Squadron, Duxford, Cambridgeshire.

                                                                                           The 19 Squadron was one of the first squadrons to be equipped with                                                                                                   Mk1 Suer marine Spitfires and PO Trenchard would have required
                                                                                           flight training in the aircraft before becoming operational 

                                                                                          19 Squadron Spitfires 1940                                                                                 
                                                                                                       At 20;25 hrs 29th February 1940 PO Trenchard took off in Spitfire K9809 
                                                         for                            on a night flying exercises. The plane was seen,following take off,to take a sudden turn to port at 1200 feet , then crashed into the ground 1.5 miles north-east of Duxford. The Spitfire was totally destroyed and PO Trenchard killed. It was proposed that PO Trenchard when changing from instruments to visual had looked back at the Duxford field flare path and lost control of the aircraft.

40271 Pilot Officer Horace Arthur Trenchard is buried in Saint Mary
and Saint Andrew Church, Whittlesford, Cambridgeshire.

Pilot Officer Trenchard is commemorated on the Waitaki Boys School honours
board, the Johnsonville and Tawa RSA’s Roll of Honour and on the Tawa
Community War Memorial.

Pilot Officer Trenchard’s name will be inscribed on the Porirua Memorial Wall.

The nickname Horrie was used in the Glenside / Tawa Flat area prior to going to England.

NZ BDM online
Paperspast Online
Glenside – the Halfway: www.glenside.org.nz Horace Arthur Trenchard
Lest Tawa Forgets: Bruce Murray
NZDF Archives – Military Files

Horace Arthur Trenchard 1937: Glenfield – the Halfway
PO Trechard’s grave: NZ Wargraves project
Spitfires of 19 Squadron 1940: Jet and Prop by Falkeeins

[i]  Glenside-The Half Way
[ii] NZ BDM
[iii] Obituary, 24th June 1911, Hutt Valley Independent
[iv] Glenside – The Halfway
[v] Lest Tawa Forget
[vi] NZDF Archives military records

19 Squadron Spitfires 1940