Trouncer, Thomas Dowell

‘Tom’ Trouncer was the elder son of Harold Moltke Trouncer FIA and Alice Beatrice Trouncer (daughter of Frederick Cornes, of Hampton Wick); his parents lived at Henfold, Beare Green, Dorking. His younger brother was Harold Owen ‘Pat’ Trouncer (D1921-26).

On leaving Winchester, where he played cricket and football for his house, he took Honours in Mathematics at University College, Oxford, and was one of the first members of the University Air Squadron.

He resigned his commission with effect from July 23rd 1932. He qualified as a solicitor in 1931 and later became manager of Druces Attlee, 10 Billiter Square, London EC3.

On September 7th 1931 he married Margaret Duncan Lahey, the daughter of James Duncan Lahey and lived at 12 Harley Gardens, South Kensington. Margaret Trouncer, who was born in Paris, was three years older than her husband, and a writer of carefully-researched historical novels. According to her obituary in The Times, she was a woman of outstanding good looks and commanding appearance… always dressed exotically, resembling some of the heroines of her books… She thoroughly looked the part of a romantic novelist”.     Her first work, “A Courtesan of Paradise: Louise, Duchesse de la Vallière”, was published in 1936.     Trouncer helped her with her research:   “A true internationalist, he had journeyed widely in most countries of the Continent. A favourite method of travel in earlier days was by canoe along the great rivers; often he went with his wife in search of material for her brilliant studies in French history.”  The couple had two children, a still-born son and a daughter, Sue, born in 1938.  When she died in 1982, Margaret Trouncer was buried in the same cemetery as her husband.

On January 1st 1939 Trouncer joined the law firm of Markby, Stewart & Wadesons as a partner.

He had foreseen the coming danger and joined the Auxiliary Air Force early in 1938 as a pilot. Mobilized just before the outbreak of war (he was gazetted Flying Officer on August 22nd 1939, with seniority back-dated to February 22nd 1936), he served as a ferry pilot and in Fighter Command.

Trouncer was wounded in May 1940. On his recovery he rejoined the Air Transport Auxiliary, being posted to No.4 Ferry Pilot Pool, only to lose his life (aged thirty-four) in a crash in foggy weather in Yorkshire on October 16th 1940. He was flying a Whitley V bomber (serial number T4225) to Prestwick, his home base, and flew into high ground on Ilkley Moor. Trouncer was the only person on board. Small fragments of the aircraft were still visible on the ground as late as the year 2000.

His funeral was held at 1500 on Monday October 21st 1940, and he is buried in Section RS, Grave 925, St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Cemetery, Kensal Green.


War: World War 2

  • Surname: Trouncer
  • Forenames or initials: Thomas Dowell
  • House: D
  • Years in School: 1920-1925
  • Rank: Flying Officer
  • Regiment: Air Transport Auxiliary
  • Date of Birth: 16th August 1906
  • Date of Death: 16th October 1940
  • How Died: Killed on Active Service
  • Location in War Cloister: Inner E1
  • Decoration: NA
  • Burial Site: St Mary's Roman Catholic Cemetery, Kensal Green, London: Grave 925, RS Section