367TH FIGHTER GROUP ...
William Norris was a gentleman. I'm not sure if my dad's war experience made him that way or not, but he lived his life after the war as an honorable, kind man. He was truly part of "The Greatest Generation." I think he was very grateful to have survived the war when many of his friends did not.
"William, Willie, or Bill" Norris joined the air force after his parents (Don and Dorothy Norris), and two sons (Bill and Dick) had a family meeting to decide which son would enlist and which one would stay to run their lumber mill.
Bill eventually joined the 393rd Fighter Squadron of the 367th Fighter Group in the European Theater. He was first stationed in England and then in France, and he was a part of the D Day invasion.
Bill (my dad) didn't talk very much about his time as a fighter pilot, but later in his life, he did share some memories. These are a few that stand out:
On June 12th, Bill flew his P-38 (The Janet, named for his then girlfriend Janet Harrison) on a mission to escort two destroyers from Cherbourg to England. He could tell they were escorting "Important Wheels" and later found out that Winston Churchill and President Franklin D. Roosevelt were on one of the Destroyers, and the other Destroyer was there for water escort.
On August 22nd, Bill led the Top Cover flight for a dive-bombing mission on an airfield northeast of Paris. They encountered heavy flak and were outnumbered by enemy aircraft. My dad's diary goes into great detail about how they managed to survive the day, but he ends by saying, "It was Overton's second mission, and he did a beautiful job. If he had not stayed with me, I think we both would have been shot down. It was a rough mission for our flight but could have been a lot worse. When I took off my oxygen mask after the flight, water just ran out. I guess I must have been sweating."
But, I have to say that the one story Bill always enjoyed telling was when he and some buddies met Marlene Dietrich in a bar and in his (bad) French he asked her to join them in sharing a bottle of red wine. She accepted and stayed and talked with them for a long time. My dad was sure a big fan of hers.
I hope to figure out how to upload my dad's diary (covering March 8th, 1944 to November 20th, 1944) to this website for anyone to read!
Ironically, William George Norris passed away on D Day (June 6th) 2009 at the age of 89.
Assigned to 384FS, 364FG, 8AF USAAF. Written off in fatal crash 1/2 mile west of Honington, pilot Capt John C Ford KIFA.
Military site : airfield
Planned as a secret, emergency airfield, Stoney Cross was developed during 1942-43 as an advance base for both fighters and bombers. Occupied by the RAF from January 1943, before construction was complete, the station had eventually three concrete...
|06 September 2017 21:15:12||LindaNorrisBloom||Changes to awards|
I have my dad's awards. I sure that he has those two awards, but he also has some ribbon bars with clusters and stars that I am not sure what they are.
|06 September 2017 21:03:42||LindaNorrisBloom||Created entry with surname, middlename, firstname, nickname, nationality, service number, highest rank, role, biography, unit associations, place associations and aircraft associations|
I have knowledge of this information from discussions with my dad, looking through his personal boxes of his saved World War Two items, and his day-by-day diary of his account of his fighter pilot experiences.