YOUNG Norman

Norman YOUNG 1922 – 1943

1265860 Sergeant Norman Young, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, 75 (New Zealand) Squadron was killed in action 27 March 1943, aged 21.  He is buried at the Sage War Cemetery, Oldenburg, Niedersachsen, Germany [1] and is commemorated on Evenwood War Memorial.

Family Details

Norman was born in 1922, the son of William and Alice Young of Evenwood and brother to Jean, Betty and Freda.  The family lived at 6 Victoria Street, Evenwood. Norman passed examinations to attend Bishop Auckland Grammar School.

Service Record

Sergeant Norman Young RAFVR

Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve: History [2]

The RAFVR was formed in July 1936 to provide individuals to supplement the Auxiliary Air Force (AAF) which had been formed in 1925 by the local Territorial Associations. The AAF was organised on a Squadron basis, with local recruitment similar to the Territorial Army Regiments. Initially the RAFVR was composed of civilians recruited from the neighbourhoods of Reserve Flying Schools, which were run by civilian contractors who largely employed as instructors’ members of the Reserve of Air Force Officers (RAFO), who had previously completed a four-year short service commission as pilots in the RAF. Navigation instructors were mainly former master mariners without any air experience. Recruits were confined to men of between 18 and 25 years of age who had been accepted for part time training as Pilots, Observers and Wireless Operators. The object was to provide a reserve of aircrew for use in the event of war. By September 1939, the RAFVR comprised 6,646 Pilots, 1,625 Observers and 1,946 Wireless Operators.

When war broke out in 1939 the Air Ministry employed the RAFVR as the principal means for aircrew entry to serve with the RAF. A civilian volunteer on being accepted for aircrew training took an oath of allegiance (“attestation”) and was then inducted in to the RAFVR. Normally he returned to his civilian job for several months until he was called up for aircrew training. During this waiting period he could wear a silver RAFVR lapel badge to indicate his status.

By the end of 1941 more than half of Bomber Command aircrew were members of the RAFVR. Most of the pre-war pilot and observer NCO aircrew had been commissioned and the surviving regular officers and members of the RAFO filled the posts of flight and squadron commanders. Eventually, of the “RAF” aircrew in the Command probably more than 95% were serving members of the RAFVR.

During 1943, the decision was taken by the Air Ministry to raise an order for members of the RAFVR to remove the brass and cloth ‘VR’s worn on the collars and shoulders of officers and other ranks (respectively), as these were viewed as being divisive. No similar order was raised for members of the Royal Auxiliary Air Force, who retained their ‘A’s on uniforms at that time.

12 August 1941:[3]  Norman Young enlisted and qualified as a wireless operator then as an air gunner, 27 June 1942.  He trained on the following aircraft:

·         De Havilland Domini

·         Hunting Percival Proctor

·         Avro Anson

·         Airspeed Oxford

·         Bristol Blenheim Mk. IV

He served as follows:

·         29 July 1942 – 28 September 1942: No.11 O.T.U. Bassingbourne, flying Vickers Wellington bombers.

·         29 September 1942 – 30 October 1942: No. 75 (N.Z.) Squadron, Vickers Wellington bombers.

·         31 October 1942 – 24 November 1942: No. 115 Squadron, Vickers Wellington bombers

·         25 November 1942 – 27 March 1943: No. 75 (N.Z.) Squadron, Short Stirlings

Norman took part in 20 successful operational sorties.  The 21st was the last:

·         10 September 1942: Dusseldorf

·         13 September 1942: Bremen

·         15 October 1942: Cologne

·         22 October 1942: Essen

·         23 October 1942: Genoa

·         26 October 1942: Brest

·         31 October 1942: La Rochelle

·         3 November 1942: La Rochelle

·         9 January 1943: Friesians

·         14 January 1943: Lorient

·         3 February 1943: Hamburg

·         4 February 1943: Turin

·         7 February 1943: Lorient

·         13 February 1943: Lorient

·         19 February 1943: Wilhelmshaven

·         25 February 1943: Nurnberg

·         26 February 1943: Cologne

·         28 February 1943: St. Nazaire

·         11 March 1943: Stuttgart

·         12 March 1943: Essen

·         27 March 1943: Berlin – missing presumed killed

Royal Air Force Observer’s and Air Gunner’s Flying Log Book

Sergeant N. Young was the Wireless Operator /Air Gunner on Stirling Bomber No. BF317 which took off from RAF Oakington, Cambridgeshire at 1940 hrs. 27 March 1943 for a raid on Berlin.  It was later reported that his aircraft was hit by anti aircraft fire and crashed at Melchiorshausen, 10kms south of Bremen, Germany with the loss of all those onboard.  [4] Other crew members were likely to have been: [5]

413096 Pilot Officer M. Lord Pilot

1167366 Sergeant E.T.R. Howard Wireless Operator

1383288 Sergeant R.E. Jeffreys Navigator

659110 Sergeant R.A. Mears Air Bomber

979904 Sergeant L. Nash Flight Engineer

530734 Sergeant W.M. Robertson Air Gunner

1017385 Sergeant J.E Turnbull Flight Engineer

Burial Sage War Cemetery [6]

Sergeant Norman Young is buried at grave reference 14. B. 1-5, Sage War Cemetery. His headstone bears the inscription:

So sweet the memories

Silently kept

Of one we loved

And will never forget

The small village of Sage lies in the north of Germany approx 56kms west of Bremen in the locality of Oldenburg, Niedersachsen.  Sage was on the line of the Allied advance across northern Germany in 1945 but most of those buried at Sage War Cemetery were airmen lost in bombing raids over northern Europe whose graves were brought in from cemeteries in the Frisian Islands and other parts of north-west Germany. Sage War Cemetery contains 948 Commonwealth burials of the Second World War, 158 of them unidentified.


[1] Commonwealth War Graves Commission

[2] The Ministry of Defence (Air Historical Branch)

[3] Sergeant N. Young’s Royal Air Force Observer’s and Air Gunner’s Flying Log Book

[4] The Ministry of Defence (Air Historical Branch) letter dated 6 October 2010.  Further information on Sgt Young’s last flight while serving with 7 Squadron RAF should be contained in the Squadrons Operations Record Book (ORB’s).  The ORB of RAF units from this period are no longer held by the Ministry of Defence but have been deposited, in accordance with the Public Records Act, at the National Archives (TNA) at Kew, London where they are on open access to the public. The ORBs document the activities of the units concerned and contain information on taskings undertaken by the units including the flying sorties under taken by RAF aircrew and the aircraft involved. The quality of ORBs is variable and some contain more information than others. The ORB for 7 Squadron RAF can be found under piece number Air 27/100 and should provide you with the names of the other crew members onboard.

[5] CWGC Headstones around that of Sergeant Norman Young

[6] CWGC

Thanks to Norman Mason, Startforth near Barnard Castle