was the son
of Philomen and Alice Trehearn and brother of Vernon and Iris of Rhyl. His
father served in the air force in WW1
his return, was a prominent member of the Red Cross and behind the creation of
the Garden of Remembrance in Rhyl. Len was married to Margaret
(Baines) and had a son,
was twenty nine
years of age
when he was
early mark Halifaxes were prone to a condition known as "rudder overbalance"
which was due to a large rudder surface mounted to a vertical stabilizer that
was too small. The design flaw often resulted in the Halifax entering an
irrecoverable spin during sometimes basic maneuvres such as medium or steep
turns. Many aircrew lost their lives due to the shortcoming and it quite
possibly could have been the cause of the crash that killed Sgt Trehearn and his
Len wrote the following letter
to his brother Vernon (an RAF Wireless Operator serving in India) in July of
Many thanks for
your letter and regrets that I havenít replied sooner. You may gather how little
time Iíve had from the fact that tonightís op. trip will be my fifth op since
Well, life on a
squadron, without the op.trips,would be o.k. Itís certainly the best part of the
service life I have yet come across. As dad may have told you, my first op. trip
was a very shaky do and although I didnít realize at the time, I was very lucky
to get back.
Eight planes out
of the eighteen that took off failed to get back and out of my flight of six
crews, only two got back. The observer in the other kite was a laddie who came
from Kinloss with me and had been with me for the last nine months.
Unfortunately,he got ďhisĒ this following Monday, so that after one week, I was
the only observer left in the flight! Two crew came back off leave and we
borrowed another from another flight, but on the Thursday one of those didnít
get back, so, so far you truly can count himself darn lucky. The first trip I
had to Bremen, was a hectic affair, but I was too darned ignorant to realise
the spot we were in.
Seachlights had us for twenty minutes and heavy flak was going ďclumpĒ against
the side of the plane. One hunk of shrapnel came right through my Perspex window
in the bomb hatch, just after I had left there. During all this, I was
completely unmoved, thinking it was just the normal type of thing met with, but
losing so many kites and crews in one night, badly shook the whole station. It
wasnít until the following Tuesday,
Coulby,(Sgt.F.Coulby kia 1.7.1941,op.Duisberg),the bloke I mentioned had failed
to get back, that Ďs when I fully realised what had happened. I began to feel a
little shaky myself then and on Thursday last, a trip to Essen-a hot spot-had me
rather nervous. Still all was o.k., although two fellows sharing this room with
me, were among the ďnow finishedĒ.
ďdoĒ was to Brest a fairly easy ďdoĒ, it brought my confidence back. On Sunday
it was Dortmund, and on Monday,
Tonight it is
fairly easy show, or at least, that is how I regard it at the moment.
that I was a little shaken myself, during last week, but now I donít bother to
think of the lads who didnít come back. Itís the missing faces, that give you
the willies, not the trouble in the end. Itís a queer life, with all of us, to
my mind, just like flies in a large web, waiting for the spider to feel hungry.
Since war began only one observer from my flight has survived the thirty trips,
but yours truly hopes to be number two. Iíve done six trips so far and now
become quite hardened and accustomed to this type of life. Tonightís show I am
quite looking forward to, but Certainly hope that we have tomorrow night off.
believe me, itís no joke doing two ops. in succession, and yesterday after
having done four in five days, I just stayed in bed. We are a decent crew and
the captain is a darn good pilot and Iíve tons of confidence in him, as I think
he has in me. The navigation doesnít give me much trouble and the W/Op. knows
his stuff. I expect you will be nearly through your course by now and you should
find it interesting work, if you can get on to same work, that is concerned with
operations. I got a real kick out of letting those bombs go on their way and
when we left Osnabruk at 2.20 a.m. yesterday morning the place was well and
At this place,
all the air crew live outside the camp at a large place, an ex girls school
called SÖell.field, you may possibly know of it. Itís out in the country but has
an open air bathing pool,
tennis and a
river running through the grounds, so you can imagine it is an ideal spot in
this weather. I havenít yet been to
and if there is anyone you know from old days, Iíll give them a look up.
The food here is
not too good for an operational station, in fact darned poor, but still, I
suppose could have been worse. From Saturday next I shall be living out.
Margaret is coming up and I have managed to find quite good digs.
There is no
official day off in this place as I have to be here at 9 each morning,
providing there has been no trip the previous night. I have asked pop for his
cycle as otherwise on Sundays, I wouldnít be able to get here from Thirsk
I know, you
said you wanted it, at one time, but this is for a better cause! you probably
only needed it to get to the nearest pub! Donít , under any circumstances,
mention anything of what I have told you about ops to the family. I told pop
about the first show and it made him very worried, so Margaret tells me. When
Iíve survived the next twenty-four,
will be lots Iíll tell them.
If, as I shall,
come through the next twenty six I shall imagine I have a fair chance of a
commission, but just a fair chance.
and as take off is at 10.25,Iíve to be getting along. Iíll write again as soon
as I have time
was a relation of Albert Bates of 429 squadron and John Trehearn of 102 squadron
both were also
killed on operations
with Bomber Command.