Leonard Trent was born April 14th, 1915 in Nelson. Between 1928 and 1934 he was educated at Nelson College. Following basic training at Taieri, Trent took flight training in Christchurch, receiving his wings in May 1938. After training he was sent to England to serve in the RAF.
At the outbreak of World War Two he served in 15 Squadron, flying the Blenheim in France. In December, the unit returned to England.
August 7th, 1940, he married Ursula Elizabeth Woolhouse. At the time he was employed as flight instructor. In March 1942 he returned to operational service. Having served for some time in Headquarters 2 Group RAF, Trent was posted to B Flight of 487 (RNZAF) Squadron, flying the Lockheed Ventura.
On May 3rd, 1943 he was shot down over enemy territory (during the action for which he was awarded the VC) and was made a prisoner of war. Trent was imprisoned in Stalag Luft III and on March 24th, 1944 he took part in the escape which became known as the Great Escape. He was however recaptured immediately. On May 24th , he was liberated by British troops, returned to England and resumed flying immediately.
After the war he became a jet pilot and Squadron Leader of 214 Squadron. He ultimately became Group Captain and Air Attaché in Washington D.C. He returned to New Zealand after his retirement in 1965.
Leonard Henry Trent passed away May 19th, 1986 in Auckland.
August 23rd, 1938: Pilot Officer;
March 23rd, 1940: Flying Officer;
March 23rd, 1941: Flight Lieutenant (war subs., seniority March 23rd, 1941);
June 1st, 1942: Temporary Squadron Leader (seniority June 1st, 1942);
September 17th, 1947: Flight Lieutenant (permanent, seniority December 1st, 1942);
?: Squadron Leader (permanent);
July 1st, 1953: Wing Commander;
July 1st, 1959: Group Captain.
June 1st, 1944: Tranfer to Royal New Zealand Air Force.
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