Born on 16 May 1921 in Eltham, Kent, Trevor Bates was the grandson of the sculptor Harry Bates, RA. He served in the RAF during the Second World War and flew both Spitfires and Hurricanes; his career as a fighter pilot earned him the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC).
He was educated at Harrow School and after the war studied at the Slade School of Art in London, where Henry Moore was amongst the teaching staff. In 1950 he gained his Fine Art Diploma as well as winning the Slade's prestigious 'Sculpture Prize' for that year.
In 1953 he was chosen to represent Great Britain in the major landmark sculpture competition, 'The Unknown Political Prisoner,' hosted by the Tate Gallery. Despite there being three and a half thousand entries from fifty seven countries and along with works submitted by Barbara Hepworth, Lynn Chadwick and Elisabeth Frink, the International Jury awarded a prize to the bronze sculpture submitted by Trevor Bates. See Plate 1: 'The Unknown Political Prisoner' (c.1952).
He became a Canadian citizen and taught art in New Brunswick until his retirement in 1986, when he moved with his artist wife Bunny Bates, to Belleville, Ontario, to devote himself full time to his sculpture, painting and drawing. He died there on 27 April 2008.
He was a member (and in later years an associate member) of the 56 Group until 1968, by which time it had renamed itself the 56 Group Wales and he was a close friend of fellow founder member Eric Malthouse.
The works of Trevor Bates can be found in the following collections:-
Amgueddfa Cymru-National Museum Wales, Cardiff; Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth; Arts Council of Great Britain; Bangor University, North Wales; University of New Brunswick, Canada; Victoria and Albert Museum, London; other public and private collections.