09.04.1944 No. 257 Squadron Typhoon Ib JR139 W/O. Norton
Operation: Military transport
Date: 09th April 1944 (Sunday)
Unit: No. 257 Squadron 'Burma' (motto: Thay myay gyee shin shwe hti - Death or glory')
Type: Typhoon Ib
Base: RAF Tangmere
Location: Albert, Bouzincourt region, France
Pilot: W/O. Franklin Thomas Norton AUS/409850 RAAF Age 23. PoW No: 4198 Camp: Stalag Luft Sagen and Belaria
REASON FOR LOSS:
Taking off at 18:55 hrs. to search for military transport that was understood to be moving between Brussels and Amiens. W/O. Norton was flying as White 4. The Wing Leader and Squadron Leader were forced to abandon the operation and return due to engine trouble and Fl/Lt. Arkle was then ordered to lead.
An empty military train was seen north of Albert and Fl/Lt. Arkle ordered the section to attack. Light flak was observed from the centre of the train and more from woods after the attack on return.
W/O. Norton took part in the attack but shortly afterwards was found to be missing from the section - no R/T requests were responded by the pilot.
The remainder returned and landed at 20:40 hrs.
From the report of the pilot following his release it was discovered that the Typhoon suffered an air lock during change over to the longe range fuel tank and he could not restart the engine. He managed to make a forced landing although unable to jettison the tank. He then managed to evade capture for some two days with the assistance from locals, but eventually captured after mistakingly walking into a German Gun emplacement and made PoW.
Released by the Americans at Mooseberg and returned to England. Discharged from the RAAF on the 21st January 1946.
He wrote to his good friend 30 year old, P/O. Colin William Spurr DFC (1). AUS/409858 RAAF whilst a PoW who was serving with 162 Squadron (indeed they shared the same address back in Australia and trained together):
(1) DFC Citation:
"F/O. Spurr has completed numerous operations against the enemy. In the course of which he has invariably displayed the utmost fortitude, courage and devotion to duty".
Above: No. 6 Service Flying Training School - Empire Air Training Scheme Course 58 - Dunnville, Ontario, Canada 1942
Rear row: LAC. Marsh; 409172 LAC.. John Parker Morieson; 409785 LAC. Kenneth Ebenezer Adamson(*); 409649 LAC. Donald Leighton Spencer Barr(*); 413676 LAC. Edwin Alfred Sims(*); 40974 LAC. Harry Gibbard Manley; 413707 LAC. Ronald Ernest Yarra(*); 413982 LAC. Donald Murray Gibson(*); 409850 LAC. Franklin Thomas Norton; 409770 LAC. Arthur Lewis Terry(*); 413942 LAC. Leslie Barnett.
Middle: 420044 LAC. Neil Moreton Peters; 413668 LAC. David Royds; 420055 LAC. Patrick James Rendle(*); 420093 LAC. Alexander Harold Will(*); 420086 LAC. Robert Reginald Waddell(*); 420095 LAC. Mark Wood; 414452 LAC. (later FO Ernest Schuman; 413639 LAC. Ronald William Murkin; 413701 LAC. William Henry Westphal; LAC. Smith; 413715 LAC. George Chester Henry; 413935 LAC. Laurence John Henderson.
Front: 409695 LAC. Charles Douglas Hamilton(*); 409858 LAC. William Colin Spurr; 415377 LAC. Leonard Ernest Cavanagh(*); LAC. Taylor; 409755 LAC. Henry Valentine Charles Sheppard(*); 420201 LAC. Ronald Rupert Cortis Hyne; 420182 LAC. John Norman Beresford Garden; 413683 LAC. Frank Phillip Stanger(*); 409732 LAC. George Vallance McMurray(*); 409773 LAC. William Leslie Topp(*); 413953 LAC. Leslie Gordon Bridges.
(*) = killed)
None: W/O. Franklin Thomas Norton survived the war. Born on the 27th September 1920 at Ascot Vale, Victoria, Australia. At the time of enlisting on the 10th October 1941 he was living at 4 Pattison Street, Moonee Ponds, Victoria, Australia. Prior to service worked as a Wool Classer.
For further details our thanks to the National Archives of Australia and the following sources.