Overcast

Overcast

max temp: 12°C

min temp: 2°C

ESTD 1874 Search

Cockfield: War veteran Norman Gregory to once again take to skies

13:45 12 June 2014

WW2 veteran Norman Gregory, 92, has been invited to take part in an event where he will fly a plane.

WW2 veteran Norman Gregory, 92, has been invited to take part in an event where he will fly a plane.

The last time 92-year-old war veteran Norman Gregory from west Suffolk was behind the controls of a plane was in 1944.

shares

But Mr Gregory, from Cockfield, who was a prisoner of war in Germany from May 1944 to May 1945, is being given the chance to fly again later this month.

He has been invited to this year’s ‘Project Propeller’ reunion, which is organised by a small group of pilots to express thanks to ex-World War Two aircrew members for their contribution to winning the war.

Mr Gregory, who is a grandfather-of-four, has been allocated a pilot who will pick him up on June 21 and take him to the airfield in Honington.

From there they will fly to Gloucester, with Mr Gregory getting the chance to get behind the controls en route, before flying back to Honington after the event.

Mr Gregory said he was looking forward to it “with a great deal of excitement,” adding: “Of course all us bomber boys would like to get back into a Lancaster.”

Mr Gregory, who was with 101 squadron, described how he and his crew’s Lancaster bomber got shot down over Dortmund in Germany on May 22, 1944.

The veteran, who was a bomb aimer during that mission, said: “We dropped the bombs on the target, but by then we were on fire from the main spar to the tail.

“The whole aircraft was on fire so the order to abandon the aircraft was given by the skipper. I was lying on the one and only escape hatch and I was the first one out. I jumped out at 23,000ft.”

He said he was soon captured by the Germans, ending up in prisoner-of-war camp Stalag Luft 7 at Bankau. He survived the notorious so-called death marches to Berlin in 1945, managing to get to American lines.

Mr Gregory, who finished as a warrant officer, said out of his crew of eight five were killed during the mission on May 22, 1944, adding the squadron lost four crews on May 3/4 1944.

“Somebody once said ‘you have got a guardian angel’ and I said ‘no I haven’t, I have got a squadron of them’.”

Mr Gregory, who was cycling a 100 miles a week until April, said he had been a passenger in planes following his time in the Royal Air Force (RAF), but had not piloted a plane since early May 1944.

He said he wanted to be a pilot as he preferred “to be a flying man and die quickly,” adding he took to the training “like a duck to water”.

After the war, he became a teacher, finishing his career at Uplands Middle School in Sudbury.

shares

1 comment

  • One of the nicest men you could ever wish to have a conversation with, also a damn good teacher but his timekeeping was awful, he used to have a big clock in his classroom and if you switched it onnoff as quick as you could it would go anti clockwise so everytime he popped his head out of his little room the clock hadn't really moved so by the time he was ready the bell was going off for the next lesson, he soon caught on what we were up to. He also taught my mother in the 60's. Good on you Mr G, go for it sir as you deserve it.

    Report this comment

    Phil Pilgrim

    Thursday, June 19, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

Air ambulance. Stock image

The air ambulance was called to the A12 at the Wangford bypass at around 5.40pm following reports that a woman had been injured in a car crash involving two vehicles.

Stock image.

Firefighters discovered a small fire which had occurred in the lagging attatched to a vessel at International Flavors and Fragrances in Duddery Hill, Haverhill, at around 6.17pm today.

The A11 at Elveden.

An air ambulance landed on the A11 at Elveden this afternoon to help a woman who was involved in a car crash.

Braintree Town have secured a place in the National League play-offs

Braintree Town set-up a two-legged National League play-off semi –final with Grimsby following their 3-0 win over Altrincham, a result which also relegated the visitors.

Halifax Town v Braintree Town - Kenny Davis

Braintree Town take on Altrincham, needing just a point to secure a place in the National League play-offs.

Stock picture of Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service fire engines.

Firefighters helped free a man who was trapped in his car after it collided with a tree.

The existing play equipment at Badingham Pocket Park which has fallen into disrepair in recent years
L-R Cllr Tim Barber,Cllr Robert Welham,Cllr Gillian Upton,Sue Piggott,Cllr Lynda McQuade.

A plea for funds towards a new playground in a north Suffolk village has been released after the project was awarded £8,000 in grant funding from Tesco to set it on its way.

Most read

Great Days Out

cover

Click here to view
the Great Days Out
supplement

View

Most commented

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Streetlife

Newsletter Sign Up

Great British Life

Great British Life
MyDate24 MyPhotos24