Trouton, Frederick Thomas

Frederick Thomas, known as Eric, was the eldest son of Professor Frederick Thomas Trouton FRS and Annie Trouton, nee Fowler, of 35 Redington Road, Hampstead, and of Melbreck, Lilford, near Farnham. His father was Quain Professor of Physics at University College, London from 1902. Eric was the oldest of four sons, and had three sisters. His younger brother, Captain Desmond Gardiner Trouton (B 1907-1911, RFA) was killed in action in October 1917 (see individual entry).   Both Desmond and Frederick came to Winchester from Bilton Grange, and not surprisingly, both brothers had an aptitude for science, particularly natural history. He was appointed a House Prefect in 1909 and played in OTH XV.

On leaving school he visited Berlin to attend the winter term at the university and on his return, went up to Trinity College, Cambridge, taking his degree in 1913 with Honours in Natural History. He was offered an appointment in 1914 in the Civil Service, but declined it in order to join the army.

According to “Wykehamists Who Died in the War”, he was gazetted to 10th Battalion, Cameron Highlanders, and the Winchester College Register 1884-1934 states the same. However, the Wykehamist War Service Roll 1914-1919 states that he served with a different (though similarly named) regiment, The Cameronians (Scottish Rifles). 10th Battalion, Cameron Highlanders, was not formed until September 1916 in Cairo, and did not arrive in France until June 1918. 10th Battalion, The Cameronians (Scottish Rifles), however, served in 46 Brigade of 15th (Scottish) Division and fought at Loos.   10th Cameronians was a New Army battalion made up of volunteers and formed in October 1914 at Aldershot and only a few of the officers had any military experience, most of the others had been in the O.T.C. at school.

In May Trouton succeeded to the command of D Company. They departed for France on 10th July 1915 and went into the front line on 26th July near Mazingarbe. Initially under the care of experienced units, they began to hold trenches un-aided from 10th August, at Bully-Grenay and Maroc. The Battalion History, “The Tenth Battalion, The Cameronians (Scottish Rifles): A Record and A Memorial 1914-1918” by Herbert J Gunn, privately printed in 1923, describes how they learnt their job : “The weather was warm, the sector was quiet, and the very infrequent shelling was by light field-guns which we learned to despise under the name of ‘pip-squeaks’. The abandoned village gardens provided excellent vegetables, and the only really objectionable things were the flies, the obscene cats, and the curious unforgettable trench smell, compounded of earth, chloride of lime, and decay… The technical details of the new job provided interesting study to all ranks. We learned to revet and put barbed wire, to distinguish the slower rhythm of the Boche machine guns from our own, and to discount the astonishing animation of wire-posts in the dark… For the rest, Paton discovered the novels of Besant and Rice, Trouton fussed over the house-wifery of the company’s trench, Brown prowled by night, and the ‘D’ company buglers practised the art of poetry… On August 25th, we were withdrawn to Fouquereuil…”

The battalion spent a while practicing for the coming offensive at Loos, due to begin on 25th September. On 7th September they moved back to Mazingarbe, where they sent working parties to prepare jumping off trenches for the assault, and to carry gas cylinders up to the front line trenches. On 24th they moved up into trenches in the area known as Quality Street, and were given their orders. Trouton’s D Company were to follow as the second wave.

Trouton fell during this attack, one of ten officers brought down in the first two hundred yards. He has no known grave, but is commemorated on the Loos Memorial, panels 57-59, although listed incorrectly as Tronton, though correctly for date and unit. After research by Shaun Hullis, a don at Winchester College, in 2006, this historic wrong was acknowledged by the Ministry of Defence and Commonwealth War Graves Commission in 2007. At the next restoration of the panel, the spelling error will be corrected.

War: World War 1

  • Surname: Trouton
  • Forenames or initials: Frederick Thomas
  • House: B
  • Years in School: 1905-1909
  • Rank: Captain
  • Regiment: The Cameronians (Scottish Rifles)
  • Date of Birth: 1st January 1892
  • Date of Death: 25th September 1915
  • How Died: Killed in action
  • Location in War Cloister: Outer D3
  • Decoration: NA
  • Burial Site: Unknown but commemorated on the LOOS MEMORIAL, Panel 57 - 59