Pilot Officer Norman Arthur DAVIES

Service No: 401422
Born: Malvern VIC, 4 October 1914
Enlisted in the RAAF: 3 February 1941
Unit: No. 38 Wing (RAF)
Died: Air Operations: (No. 38 Wing Horsa Glider HS114 towed by Halifax aircraft W7801), Norway, 20 November 1942, Aged 28 Years
Buried: Stavanger (Eiganes) Churchyard, Norway
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Herbert Arthur and Hannah Sophie Davies, of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Roll of Honour: Kinglake VIC
Remembered: Panel 121, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

On 20 November 1942, Horsa Glider HS114 from No. 38 Wing RAF crashed at Helleland, near Egersund in the Stavenger area of Norway. The glider carried two RAAF pilots and 15 British Army personnel. Three were killed in the crash including the two RAAF members. The other 14 were shot by a German firing party in Egersund Camp.

Two gliders HS114 and DP349, set out for Norway on Operation Freshman on the night of 19 November 1942, in an attempt to destroy a heavy water plant of vital importance in German atom bomb experiments. HS114 was towed across the North Sea by Halifax W7801 without incident, but visibility was bad and the weather deteriorated until they were flying blind in thick cloud. At the estimated time of arrival over the target area, ice formed on the towrope and snapped it. The Intercom was also severed. HS114 crashed about 2.5 kms north east of Lensmannsgard some four kms north of where W7801 subsequently crashed likely as the result of icing. Glider DP349 also crashed killing eight, five uninjured soldiers were executed and four injured soldiers were poisoned by a German Doctor acting under Gestapo orders. Only the Halifax tow tug for DP349 returned to the UK and Operation Freshman cost 38 British, 2 Australian and 1 Canadian life.

In October 1942, six Norwegian Special Operations Executive (SOE) Agents had been parachuted into the area. Their task was to meet and guide the British troops to the Heavy Water Plant. In February 1943, a further six Norwegians were parachuted into the area and the combined SOE team succeeded in destroying the Plant. Bombing from the air was not considered to be a viable option due to the high number of civilian casualties that were likely to be incurred.

The crew members of HS114 were:

Pilot Officer Norman Arthur Davies (401422) (Pilot)
Pilot Officer Herbert John Fraser (401601) (Co-Pilot)

The British Soldiers on HS114 (one of whom was killed in the crash and the remainder executed on 20 November 1942) were:

Lieutenant Alex Charles Allen (137173) Royal Engineers
Corporal John George Llewellyn Thomas (2076750) Royal Engineers
Lance Corporal Frederick William Bray (1884418) Royal Engineers
Lance Sergeant George Knowles (1871585) Royal Engineers
Lance Corporal Alexander Campbell (1923037) Royal Engineers
Sapper Ernest William Bailey (1869293) Royal Engineers
Driver John Thomas Vernon Bellfield (2016305) Royal Engineers
Sapper Howell Bevan (2074196) Royal Engineers
Sapper Thomas William Faulkner (2115238) Royal Engineers
Sapper Charles Henry Grundy (1886725) Royal Engineers
Sapper Herbert J Legate (1922713) Royal Engineers
Driver Ernest Pendlebury (2000197) Royal Engineers
Sapper Leslie Smallman (2068169) Royal Engineers
Driver James May Stephen (2010697) Royal Engineers
Sapper Gerald Stanley Williams (1948916) Royal Engineers

The crew members of Halifax W7801 that crashed near Helleland were:

Flight Sergeant Albert Buckton (751516) (RAFVR) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Flight Sergeant George Mercier Edwards (1259259) (RAFVR) (Air Gunner)
Sergeant James Falconer (573120) (RAF) (Flight Engineer)
Flying Officer Arnold Thomas Hayward Haward (115977) (RAFVR) (Observer)
Flight Lieutenant Arthur Roland Parkinson (J/5470) (RCAF) (Pilot)
Pilot Officer Gerald Walter Sewell de Gency (116942) (RAFVR) (Second Pilot)
Flight Lieutenant Arthur Edwin Thomas (101580) (RAFVR) (Observer)

The British soldiers on DP349 were:

Killed in the Glider crash

Lieutenant David Alexander Methven GM (210866) Royal Engineers
Staff Sergeant Malcolm Frederick Strathdee (320272) (Pilot) The Glider Pilot Regiment AAC
Sergeant Peter Doig (3250420) (Co-Pilot) The Glider Pilot Regiment AAC
Lance Sergeant Frederick Healey (4385760) Royal Engineers
Sapper John Glen Vernon Hunter (2110332) Royal Engineers
Sapper William Jacques (2114930) Royal Engineers
Sapper Robert Norman (2110268) Royal Engineers
Driver George Simkins (1884423) Royal Engineers

Injured soldiers poisoned by a German Doctor on Gestapo orders

Corporal James Dobson Cairncross (2110314) Royal Engineers
Driver Peter Paul Farrell (2010213) Royal Engineers
Lance Corporal Trevor Louis Masters (1872832) Royal Engineers
Sapper Eric John Smith (1892979) Royal Engineers

Uninjured soldiers executed on 18 January 1943

Lance Corporal Wallis Mahlon Jackson (4537415) Royal Engineers
Sapper James Frank Blackburn (1900803) Royal Engineers
Sapper Frank Bonner (1906932) Royal Engineers
Sapper John Wilfred Walsh (2073797) Royal Engineers
Sapper Thomas William White (1875800) Royal Engineers


Airborne Assault ParaData Website (Operation Freshman Research & Enquiry Report)
Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour On-Line Records
Commonwealth War Graves Commission On-Line Records
Department of Veterans’ Affairs On-Line WWII Nominal Roll
National Archives of Australia On-Line Record A705, 163/27/171


Ilbery, P.L.T. (Peter Leslie Thomas) (422957) Hatching an Air Force: 2SFTS, 5SFTS, 1BFTS Uranquinty and Wagga Wagga, Banner Books Maryborough QLD 4650, 2002

The 1965 Motion Picture “The Heroes of Telemark” depicts the Norwegian Special Operations Executive Agents destroying the Heavy Water Plant but does not include the earlier events in which Pilot Officer Davies and Pilot Officer Fraser were killed.

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