Some 125,000 young men served as aircrew in RAF Bomber Command in World War Two.

Of this number, a truly staggering 55,573 were killed in action. One of these young men was Norman Day whose name appears on the war memorial inside St Mary’s Church in Linton. On 2nd November a talk entitled “Not just a name on a plaque” was given in Linton Village Hall by Jonquil Dodd and Roger Davies covering Norman’s life and the history of Bomber Command in the last war.

Norman’s father Hugh had worked in the Indian Civil Service and he was born in India in 1923. Sadly, his parents then divorced and he returned home to England with his mother. Herefordshire born she remarried and with her new husband ran a farm at Hartleton near Bromsash. Their home is known today as Hartleton House. Norman went to Upton Bishop school before joining the RAF as a volunteer reserve.

He was called up in May 1942 and trained as a navigator with numerous courses in UK and Canada to make him proficient in dead reckoning, astral navigation and the use of electronic navigation systems. After the D-Day invasion in June 1944 Bomber Command returned to the area bombing of all the major German cities to devastating effect. Following his training, Norman joined 207 Squadron at RAF Spilsby flying four engine Lancasters in October 1944. All hoped to safely complete a tour of 30 operations in order to qualify for a long rest from front-line activity.

However, only 27 out of every 100 Bomber Command aircrew would see such a day. Norman died on his fifth operation on 4th December 1944, a bombing raid on Heilbronn in southern Germany. Norman’s Lancaster crashed in eastern France killing all 7 crew. There average age was just 22. The aircraft may have been hit by flak although enemy night fighters were also very active in the area.

Today, Norman’s grave can be found in the Choloy War Cemetery, a village 28 kilometres west of Nancy. There is also a memorial stone near the crash site at Barembach, Bas-Rhin. This year’s Remembrance Service is being held at St Mary’s Church, Linton on Sunday 13th November starting at 10.45am.

Norman will be remembered along with all those named on the Linton War Memorial who died in defending our country in the two World Wars. Lest we forget, their sacrifice guaranteed the many freedoms we enjoy today.

Keep safe, ROGER D,