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Staff Sergeant Ralph Norbury

Discussion in 'WWII Obituaries' started by GRW, Jan 19, 2020.

  1. GRW

    GRW Pillboxologist WW2|ORG Editor

    Oct 26, 2003
    Likes Received:
    Stirling, Scotland
    "The last surviving hero from Britain's Second World War Glider Pilot Regiment who was a part of the four major operations the wooden gliders were used in has died aged 100.
    Staff Sergeant Ralph Norbury flew wooden gliders deep behind enemy lines at the invasion of Sicily in July 1943.
    Eleven months later on D-Day he became one of the first Allied servicemen to step foot on Nazi-occupied France after landing ahead of main invasion.
    In September 1944 he fought in the Battle of Arnhem in Holland and then took part in Operation Varsity over the Rhine in western Germany in March 1945.
    Sgt Norbury, originally from Manchester, enlisted with the Lancashire Regiment at the outset of the war before transferring to the Glider Pilot Regiment.
    During the war, gliders became an extremely effective alternative to parachute drops, carrying up to 28 soldiers or jeeps, artillery and even tanks.
    Sgt Norbury and his ilk were trained as expert pilots and then on landing performed the role of an infantry officer capable of leading the airborne soldiers they had transported into battle.
    For this, they became known as the 'total soldier'.
    His first operation was the invasion of Sicily on July 9, 1943."

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