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Norman seen on a requisitioned civilian Triumph motorbike at Malvern, retraining before leaving for Egypt.

Find out more about the Burma campaigns on the Chindits and Burma Star Association websites.




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The Wartime Memories of
Norman Heaton

Norman Heaton’s childhood was spent in Hanlith, where his father Jo Heaton was groom and chauffeur to Mr Illingworth of Hanlith Hall.

April 1939 saw Norman enlisting in the Border Regiment as a Territorial soldier, but in September he was given ‘The King’s Shilling’ and so was mobilised as a Regular.

He served throughout the war, fighting in France, Egypt, India, Syria, Burma and Norway. In India he became one of the world famous Chindits, penetrating into the Himalayan foothills behind Japanese lines, thus closing the back door to India and defeating the Japanese as they tried to retreat. It was a momentous victory.

Although the war ended with the German surrender on 7th May 1945 the Germans in Norway refused to surrender immediately, so Norman, now with the airborne division of the King’s Own Scottish Borderers, was part of the force sent to Norway to oust them. One of Norman’s proud possessions is an enormous German flag, complete with swastika, that he ‘liberated’ from Oslo airfield.

Before the war Norman had met his future wife, Doris, in Windermere, where he was employed as a chauffeur. In June 1940 he returned to England for the only home leave he was to have for the entire war. He travelled to Windermere and took Doris to Hanlith to meet his parents for the first time. During a leave of only three days he married Doris on October 5th 1940, and his brother Henry was Best Man.

Norman’s father Jo Heaton, served in the Home Guard and was allowed to drive Mr Illingworth’s lorry with the Home Guard’s petrol allowance. Mr Heaton had many tales to tell his son when the war was over - A Malhamdale farmer towed a nanny goat around in a trailer to justify his use of petrol, and it was rumoured that one man towed a coffin containing dead pigs!

The black market was rife throughout the war. Londoners travelled to Malhamdale to buy joints of meat, hams, bacon and eggs and returned to the City to sell them at a big profit.

At long last Norman’s war was over in October 1945 with the surrender of the Germans in Norway, our troops embarked for home and Norman returned to Malhamdale, one of our war heroes, with the Burma Star, the Africa Star and the 1939 -1945 Star.

Read the Wartime memories of other Malhamdale residents:
Edith Carr
Veronica Fletcher (Fell)
Rob Foster
John Geldard
Barbara Purcell (Hoare)
Frank Sharp
Ethel Taylor
Margaret Thompson (Carr)
Dora Varley (Watson)
Marion Wellock


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