|He was sent to Canada
under the Empire Air Training Scheme, was commissioned in February 1941,
and then ordered to England, where he joined No. 452 Squadron as a
foundation member on 5 May. Flying a Spitfire, he scored his first
victory in August. Thereafter, his score began a gradual rise.
three months of war flying, he had destroyed at least 11 German
aircraft, was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, and made a flight
commander. In January 1942 he was made acting squadron leader before
being posted back to Australia in March. Late that month he was awarded
a bar to his Distinguished Flying Cross. At that point he was the most
well-known pilot in the RAAF.
In Australia, Truscott joined No. 76
Squadron in Bankstown. The squadron, flying Kittyhawks, had previously
served in Papua. The squadron, including Truscott, redeployed there in
July 1942. Before leaving Australia, Truscott played a last game for the
Melbourne football club; lacking match fitness, he was unable to keep up
with the play and found himself exhausted.
He had received a rousing
public welcome and kicked a goal, much to the fans’ delight, but when
he was asked whether he would play again, he replied that it was no
longer for him. It was, he said, “too dangerous.”
Based at Milne Bay, No. 76 Squadron
arrived shortly before the Japanese landings. By August Truscott was in
command, the previous leader having been killed in action. Truscott
evacuated his aircraft to Port Moresby amidst uncertainty about whether
the airfields at Milne Bay could be held.
Truscott and his squadron
served throughout the Milne Bay battle in constant rain, heavy mist, and
low clouds. The mountainous terrain, slippery runways, and heavy
anti-aircraft fire added to the danger but Truscott survived and
continued to command the squadron when it was transferred to Darwin.
His tally rose to 16 enemy aircraft
destroyed along with three probables and three damaged. In February 1943
the squadron moved to a quieter posting in Western Australia. Truscott
was on a training flight over the Exmouth Gulf on 28 March when he made
a mock attack on a low-flying Catalina. Misjudging his height over the
glassy water, Truscott crashed into the sea and was killed.
Image and text from the AWM site