Thursday, 8 November 2018

Frederick Murray Trotter (1897-1968)


F M Trotter in 1927
Artist's impression of Trotter as a dispatch rider

F M Trotter was born at Gateshead on 19 April 1897. In 1916 he was studying geology and chemistry at Armstrong College, Newcastle when, at the age of 18, he joined the Royal Engineers. Trotter was sent to the Western Front as a dispatch Rider. In 1918 while near Vimy he was badly wounded by shrapnel and lost one of his eyes and part of his skull.

Sketch of Trotter c1937 (P832327)
After he recovered Trotter was able to resume his studies at Armstrong College and was awarded his BSc in 1920. In 1921 he joined the Geological Survey of Great Britain and was first stationed at their office at Whitehaven, Cumbria. A study of the glacial history of the Vale of Eden and surrounding areas gained him a DSc.

In 1933 Trotter moved to the Forest of Dean and at the outbreak of the Second World War he was sent to South Wales to work on the coalfield. At the end of 1941 he was promoted to District Geologist for the North-West of England and in 1955 he became Assistant Director (Deputy Chief Scientific Officer). He retired in 1963 and died on 24 July 1968.

In an obituary in the Proceedings of the Geologist's Association his former colleague William Colin Campbell Rose wrote: It was a constant source of wonder and admiration to his colleagues that despite this tremendous handicap  (of which he never complained) he enjoyed his life and work to the full and seemed not to suffer any disadvantage.

 You can find out more about the Geological Survey and the First World War in the paper "Some aspects of the British Geological Survey’s contribution to the war effort at the Western Front, 1914–1918" by D G Bate and A L Morrison. This can be downloaded here

Andrew L Morrison

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