Pilot Officer Norman A Davies

19 Nov 1942

Pilot Officer Norman Arthur Davies was born in Melborne, the son of Herbert Arthur and Hannah Sophie Davies, of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. He was an Australian national and served with the Royal Australian Air Force.

Prior to the outbreak of war, Norman Davies was a farmer and graduate of Dookie Agricultural College, residing in Queen Street, Melbourne. After joining the Air Force, he had trained as a Glider pilot and took part in the ill-fated Op Freshman mission to sabotage the German development of an atomic bomb at the Vermock Heavy Water plant in Norway.

Alongside Pilot Officer Herbert Fraser, Pilot Officer Norman Davies flew Horsa glider HS114, towed by tug place Halifax W7801 'B' Baker carrying men from 9th Field Coy (Airborne) RE and 261 Field Park Coy (Airborne) RE under Lt Allen who had volunteered for the operation. The tug from 38 Group RAF was piloted by Flt Lt A R Parkinson (Royal Canadian Air Force) and Pilot Officer G W Sewell de Gency RAF(Volunteer Reserve) as co-pilot. Other crew members were  were Flying Officer A T H Haward RAF(VR), Flt Lt A E Thomas RAF(VR), Sgt J Falconer RAF, Flt Sgt A Buckton RAF(VR) and Flt Sgt G M Edwards RAF(VR) (all of whom later died when the tug crashed during the mission at Helleland, Rogaland).

Following take-off at 1800hrs from Wick, Scotland on 19 November 1942, the mission soon became hampered by severe weather conditions. As the aircraft neared their intended targets the glider and tug encountered dense fog northwest of Rjukan which they were unable to emerge from, coupled with problems with their target-location apparatus. Fuel was getting low and as both tug plane and glider started to collect ice, they rapidly lost altitude. Tug and glider separated although details are not known exactly what happened afterwards. The glider crashed approximately 2.5 kilometres north-east of Lensmannsgard, 400-500 metres north-west of Gasetjern, some four kilometres north from where the towing Halifax crashed killing both pilots, and one of the passengers. The remaining fourteen survivors were all captured as POWs and later shot after interrogation.

Pilot Officer Davies was killed by the crash on 19 November 1942, aged 28 years old. He is now buried alongside all other victims of the ill-fated Horsa HS114 (also the resting place of several victims from sister glider Horsa DP-349) at Eiganes Churchyard, in Stavanger, Norway.

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Service History


  • Gravestones of Airborne casualties from Op Freshman buried in Eiganes Churchyard, Stavanger, Norway, 2010.

    Gravestones of Airborne casualties from Op Freshman buried in Eiganes Churchyard, Stavanger, Norway, 2010.

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