Submariner and Flag Officer Scotland and Northern Ireland
Born: 18 July, 1921, in London.
Died: 8 July, 2008, in Devon, aged 86.
AT 21, Anthony Troup took command of a submarine, it was the start of a remarkable career in the Royal Navy. He was the youngest officer to command a submarine during the war and did so with a special daring and courage. Within a few months, Sir Anthony was in command of Strongbow operating off the coast of Ceylon and then served with distinction throughout the war. In Scotland, Vice-Admiral Sir Anthony Troup, KCB, DSC and Bar, is principally remembered as Flag Officer Scotland during a crucial period. At official functions he made a strong impression in his dress naval uniform and wearing a Gordon tartan kilt. When he retired from the navy, he spent part of the year in a converted croft in Rosshire – his family had originated from Banff and previously had many summer holidays on Seal Island near Oban. Typically, Sir Anthony prefixed all his sailing boats with the name Seal.
John Anthony Rose Troup was born into a naval family and was educated at Dartmouth. In 1941, he volunteered for the submarines and joined Turbulent which was commanded by the legendary Commander "Tubby" Linton. Sir Anthony was immediately sent to the Mediterranean where he was part of the successful 10th Flotilla that sank many tons of enemy shipping. He was mentioned in despatches. After taking command of Strongbow, Troup was patrolling off the coast at Phuket when he sank a Japanese coaster and the next day his submarine sank two Japanese submarines and a cargo ship. He was awarded his first DSC for his bravery.
While patrolling the Sumatra coastline in 1942, he was stranded in shallow waters and subjected to continual bombardment from a Japanese gun turret. The submarine was in a bad condition (years later Sir Anthony admitted: "They gave me a very bad time, and I was considerably dusted up") and, indeed, the enemy thought they were sunk. Sir Anthony skilfully manoeuvred his vessel off the land-bank and limped across 1,000 miles of the Indian Ocean to Trincomalee. There, the RN engineers declared the submarine unseaworthy. Sir Anthony was awarded a Bar to his DSC.
After the war, Sir Anthony remained in the submarine service – and for two years was commander of a submarine squadron on the Clyde – before being promoted to commander in 1953 and appointed naval assistant to the First Sea Lord. In 1972, he was promoted to vice-admiral and made Flag Officer Submarines.
Sir Anthony's final appointment was one which gave him particular pleasure. As Flag Officer Scotland and Northern Ireland he was closely involved with the navy's strategic duties in the North Sea and was instrumental in the tactics pursued in the "Cod War". Iceland had unilaterally declared an exclusive zone for fishing beyond its territorial waters. Iceland policed its quota system strictly and this led to uncomfortable diplomatic incidents – including the cutting of the nets of UK trawlers. As a result, a fleet of 22 frigates patrolled the North Sea to act as a deterrent against any future harassment.
The situation needed a steely nerve and much diplomacy and Sir Anthony brought a quiet air of authority to a situation which might have got out of hand. That was particularly true in 1975 when three UK ships were spotted in a secluded Icelandic fjord. The UK ships maintained they were sheltering from a force nine gale. Stories differ, but Sir Anthony saw through the difficult situation with immense tact.
His retirement was spent between Berkshire and Portchuillin in Rosshire. At the former he was close to the Royal Yacht Squadron on the Isle of Wight (which he joined in 1964) and at the latter played with typical zest at the Loch Carron golf course. Only nine holes (but boasting 11 tees) the course tests the player to the utmost – most holes are along the loch – and Sir Anthony indulged his passion for the game regularly.
His son, Christopher, recalls playing with his father at Loch Carron: "I played my first round of golf with him there and he remained keen on the game, and the course, all his life. Even in later life he still hit the ball well off the tee and sank putts from all over those tiny greens. He loved the area and the scenery: sailing his boats on the loch and playing golf – they were his two passions. My father was hugely proud of his Scottish heritage."
Sir Anthony, whose other interests included gardening and shooting, held many charitable posts – he was president of the Submarine Old Comrades' Association, a member of the Board of Visitors to Borstal and chairman of the Charitable Home for Care for the Elderly. He was made a KCB in 1975.
In 1943, he married Joy Gordon-Smith. That marriage was dissolved in 1952, and the following year he married Cordelia Hope. She and their two sons and a daughter survive him as do two sons and a daughter from his first marriage.