Michael Trotobas of SOE’s F (French) Section "Capitaine Michel"
The role and death of Michael Trotobas while a member of Britain's special forces during the Second World War will be honoured with a blue plaque outside his birthplace at No 1 North Place, Brighton
Michael Alfred Raymond Trotobas was born on 20 May 1914 at 1 North Place, Brighton, the son of a French father and an Irish mother.
Michael’s mother died when he was only nine years old and he was sent to live in France with an aunt. His schooling was completed there and in Ireland and after drifting from job to job for several years, he joined the Middlesex Regiment of the British Army in 1933.
After war broke out, he served in northern France and, wounded, was fortunate to be evacuated from Dunkirk. Commissioned as an officer in the Manchester Regiment, he then volunteered for S.O.E. and in September 1941 was in a group of six agents parachuted into Vichy-controlled France.
After only a month he was arrested, but escaped in July 1942 and made his way back to Britain via Spain and Portugal. Two months later he again parachuted into France to create a new circuit, FARMER, in and around Lille. From May 1943, he began sabotage operations in which he personally participated. On the morning of 27 November 1943 the enemy forced their way into his lodgings in Lille and in the subsequent shoot-out, Trotobas was killed instantly.
SOE’s submission for a Victoria Cross for Trotobas was turned down and in the post-war confusion of the organisation’s disbandment, no other award was granted.
Research, photos and additional information courtesy of Paul McCue, Unicorn, the Richardson Collection and Stewart Kent