Corporal John Lightfoot Trollope transferred from the Royal Engineers to the Royal Flying Corps as a temporary Second Lieutenant on 17 June 1916. Lieutenant Trollope received Royal Aero Club Aviator's Certificate 3772 on a Maurice Farman biplane at Shoreham on 1 August 1916. Posted to 70 Squadron as a reconnaissance pilot, he flew the Sopwith 1½ Strutter until 1917, when he was promoted to Captain and re-assigned to 43 Squadron. Flying the Sopwith Camel, Trollope scored 18 victories during the first three months of 1918. Incredibly, he shot down seven enemy aircraft during the morning and afternoon of 24 March. Four days later, on the morning of 28 March 1918, he led a nine man patrol across the German lines. Only four of them returned. Trollope, Robert Owen and three other pilots were shot down when the patrol was attacked by a flight of Albatros D.Vs. Trollope was credited with one balloon and two of his opponents before his Camel was shot down by Paul Billik of Jasta 52. Captured by the Germans, Trollope's left arm was badly wounded, requiring the amputation of his hand. Repatriated in June 1918, Trollope's left arm was eventually amputated at the shoulder. He was recommended for the Distinguished Service Order but did not receive it.
Great Britain, Royal Aero Club Aviators' Certificates, 1910-1950
Military Cross (MC)
T./Capt. John Lightfoot Trollope, Gen. List and R.F.C.
For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. During a period of three months he has engaged and brought down completely out of control four hostile machines, and has sent down crashing to earth, three others. On all occasions he has displayed the greatest courage, determination and skill, and it is largely due to his fine leadership that the flight under his command has contributed so much to the marked success of the squadron.
T./Capt. John Lightfoot Trollope, M.C., Gen. List and R.F.C.
For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. On one occasion during the recent operations, while on offensive patrol, he encountered three enemy machines, two of which he completely destroyed. He then attacked a scout, and after firing 100 rounds into it, the enemy machine went down completely out of control, eventually crashing. Later in the same day, on his flight encountering four enemy two-seater planes, he sent three of them down crashing to earth. Within a month previous to this he fought two hostile formations, numbering 12 machines in all, single-handed, and did not break off the engagement until he had driven off all of them towards the East. He has accounted for 14 enemy machines, and has rendered exceptionally brilliant service by his gallantry and determination.
(M.C. gazetted 13th May, 1918.)