F/O. A.E. NORRISS
FIRST NAMES: Albert Edward
RANK: Flying Officer
UNIT: 239 Squadron RAF
DOB:12th April 1923
OCCUPATION: Clerk at Police Headquarters
DATE OF DEATH: 24th May 1944
WHERE BURIED: Naples War Cemetery, Italy
MEDALS: 1939-45 Star, Africa Star, Italy Star, Victory Medal, Defence Medal
Albert Edward Norriss was born in Northallerton on the 30th April 1923 and was the son of Robert and Alacia Norriss and brother to Keith. Albert was brought up in the family home at 8 Dudley Terrace, but later the family moved to 22 Lascelles Lane and then again to 30 Brompton Road.
Albert's father was an executive officer in the medical department at County Hall and an RAF/T officer with No 1029 Air Training Corps Squadron. From 1928 to 1933 Albert attended the Applegarth School and from 1933 to 1938, St. Mary's College Darlington, where he gained school certificates. After leaving St. Mary's College he became a temporary clerk in the Air Raid Warden's Dept at the Police Headquarters in Northallerton. Albert was a keen sportsman was a prolific reader and loved the theatre and cinema. He was also a competent aero modeller and spent many hours creating silhouettes of aeroplanes.
On the 27th January 1941 Albert attested as a member of the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve with an added request that he be allowed to join proper on his 18th birthday. On the 8th September that year Albert reported to Lords Cricket Ground for aircrew selection. On being selected for pilot he was given the rank of 1099328 Leading Aircraftsman. Although called Albert by the family, he was always known as Ted throughout his service. He passed the aptitude tests for pilot and on the 19th January 1942 he arrived at No 1 Manning Depot Toronto Canada, the first step to gaining his wings. While at Toronto Ted served in the RAF drill squad which was quite an honour. He then moved to Manitoba to learn to fly the Tiger Moth, the last bi-plane to serve with the RAF, and then the Cessna Crane, a twin engined aircraft. On August 14th LAC Norriss was presented with his wings and the Queens Commission and from then was known as 128487 Pilot Officer A.E. Norriss. From Manitoba he moved to Prince Edward Island and then to Greenwood, Nova Scotia, to fly the Lockheed Hudson.
The Lockheed Hudson was a twin engined reconnaissance/light bomber in squadron service with the RAF in the UK. His crewmen on the training course were Tess, Terry and Mac. Tess was to meet up with with Ted and fly with him in the Middle East. On the 8th March 1943 Ted Transferred to Halifax, Nova Scotia, and on the 28th of March arrived in the UK. He was then posted to PRC Harrogate, which suited Ted as he was a mere 30 miles from home.
In June that year he was posted to an Operational Training Unit at Docking to learn to fly the twin engined Air Sea Rescue Wellington. The Wellington was well known as a bomber, but in 1943 it was being withdrawn from the bombing campaign as the four engined heavies took on the role as the main strike force against Germany. In July of that year he transferred to RAF Station Bircham Newton to convert to the Vickers Warwick ASR. The Warwick was a version of the Wellington modified for Air Sea Rescue duties. He flew his first solo flight on the 3rd August and on the 9th October was posted RAF Hurn. From Hurn he was sent to Gibraltar and then to North Africa. His final destination was to Blida in Algiers with the British North Africa Air Force. At Blida he joined No 293 Air Sea Rescue Squadron. It was while he was stationed at Blida that his promotion to Flying Officer came through.
Ted flew many ASR operations from Blida but as the Allied ground forces' advance onto the Italian mainland gained momentum, the BNAF advanced with them. In March 1944 No 293 Squadron flew to their new base at Pomiagano on the west coast of Italy. The squadron's area of operations was the western portion of the Mediterranean Sea. Ted's penchant for letter writing flourished while he was in Italy and the scores of letters he wrote are now a proud family possession.
On the 24th May Ted took off in his Warwick on an Air Sea Rescue mission. On the final approach while returning to the airfield the aircraft flew into a telegraph pole and crashed into a brick building adjacent to the runway. Ted with two other crew members, including Tess from their training days in Canada, were killed. Three other members of the crew survived the crash.
Ted lies buried with his crew members in Plot 2, Row C, Grave 3, in Naples War Cemetery. He is also remembered on the Northallerton War Memorial and in the Church of the Royal Air Force St. Clement Danes London.
Ted was aged 21 years.