GEORGE HENRY NORTON

Remembered by Ransomes, Sims & Jefferies with entrance gates, dedicated in May 1958, at Ransomes Sports’ Centre, Sidegate Avenue, Ipswich.

Images courtesy of Ian Wylie.

 

 

Born: 1923, Ipswich.

Died: 4th May 1944; age: 21.

Residence: 27, Beech Grove, Ipswich.

Employed: as a Turner, at Ransomes, Sims & Jefferies, Ipswich.

Rank: Sergeant/Flight Engineer; Service Number: 1801045.

Regiment: Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, 57 Squadron.

 

Grave Reference:

Joint Grave 1.

Le Vaudoue Communal Cemetery,

Seine-et-Marne,

France.

 

Relatives Notified & Address: Son of George & Margaret Gertrude Louisa Norton, of Ipswich.

Graveside service held after the war.

 

George’s father visiting his son’s grave.

Father: George Norton, born May 1904, Ipswich.

Mother: Margaret Gertrude Louisa Norton (nee Jordan), born August 1904, Ipswich.

 

ENGLAND & WALES REGISTER 1939

George was living with his parents & sister at their family home – 27, Beech Grove, Ipswich.

George, a Printer’s Machine Minder.

Margaret, unpaid Domestic Duties.

June M. Norton, born 1933, Ipswich.

 

George was a well known racing cyclist – he was a clubman of the Suffolk Roads Cycling Club.

 

Probate to George Norton – father, a printer’s machine minder and Margaret Gertrude Louisa Norton – mother.

 

 

3rd/4th May 1944

 

Aircraft: Avro Lancaster III; serial number: ND468; code: DX-M, based at R.A.F Station East Kirkby, Lincolnshire. The aircraft took-off at 21:43hrs on the 3rd May, their mission was to neutralise, with heavy bombing, the German military field of Mailly-le Camp, Aube, France, in preparation of the Operation ‘OVERLORD,’ the Allied landing in Normandy. 2 Pathfinder Mosquitoes, and 346 Lancaster’s took part; 25 Lancaster’s from East Kirkby. ND468 failed to return. According to Mr. Grandjean, Mayor of Le Vaudoue, the aircraft fell into wooded ground, about 400 yards south east of Le Vaudoue, exploding on impact. The German Totenliste No. 246 records the seven man crew buried in five coffins on the 6th May 1944.

On the 15th November 1946, the bodies were exhumed. The bodies were found broken and burnt. George and Rendal Scrivener had been buried together, and were identified by their burnt clothing, non issue black shoes, blue woollen socks, portions of an ‘Rhodean’ wing on a brevet. Plus scraps of their Mae West and parachute harnesses.

After the wreckage with numerous bullet holes in both fins, and the bodies were examined, it was concluded that ND468 had been shot down, at 01:15hrs, by two German night fighters Messerschmitt Bf110, on their return journey to R.A.F. East Kirkby. Two of the crew had baled out, but had been found dead with pine branches piercing their skulls. The other four had been burned to death in the aircraft crash. Two unidentified beyond recognition.

Fellow Crew:

Rendal Anthony Fenwick Scrivener; Flying Officer; age 20; R.A.F.V.R.

Thomas Roy Clayton; Flight Sergeant/Air Gunner; age 23; R.A.F.

Henry Mitchell Peckett; Flight Sergeant/Air Bomber; age 20; R.A.F.V.R.

Frederick Charles Searle; Sergeant/Wireless Operator/Air Gunner; age 21; R.A.F.V.R.

Norman Alfred Smith; Flying Officer/Navigator; age 26; R.A.F.V.R.

James Kenneth Morey; Flight Sergeant/Air Gunner; age 22; R.C.A.F.

 

Evening Star – 6th September 1945.

FRENCH VILLAGERS’ TRIBUTES TO FALLEN BRITISH AIRMEN

Mayor’s Letter Brings Comfort to Bereaved Ipswich Parents

In May, 1944, a Lancaster bomber was shot down over France, and the crew, one of whom was Flight-Sergt. (Engineer) G.H. Norton, R.A.F.V.R., of 27, Beech Grove, Ipswich, were killed. Recently Flight-Sergt. Norton’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. G. Norton, received a letter from the Mayor of Le Vaudoué, France, describing how the people of that village honoured the memory of the gallant airmen, despite the efforts of the Germans to prevent them from doing so.

The Germans, says the letter, buried the bodies of Norton and three of his crew mates, one a Canadian, refusing to allow the French people to follow them to the cemetery, or to enter it. They then set a guard at the cemetery gates, but in spite of this the people entered the cemetery during the night and decorated the graves with two English and French flags and flowers, including a cross more than a yard high made of red, white and blue flowers. The people of the neighbouring village also brought flowers and even thankful letters. Then the boys of Le Vaudoué, made a house-to-house collection of money, with which they bought gravestones, and a stone enclosure for the grave which were finished and erected two weeks before the village was liberated – all the inhabitants of the village went to the cemetery, decorated the grave, and held a memorial service, also putting up Allied flags which the people had made in secret while the Germans were still there. In defiance of a further German order, the grave was photographed, and the Mayor of Le Vaudoué enclosed a copy in his letter to Mr. and Mrs. Norton.

“The goodness and generosity of the French people who risked their lives in doing this for our boys, has certainly softened our grief a little,” said Mr. Norton.

Flight-Sergt. Norton was formally well known as a racing cyclist, being a member of the Suffolk Roads Club.

 

 

 

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