Norman Heatons 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 Kings 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 Kings
Own Scottish Borderers, was part of the force sent to Norway to
oust them. One of Normans proud possessions is an enormous German
flag, complete with swastika, that he liberated from Oslo
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.
Normans father Jo Heaton, served in the Home Guard and was allowed
to drive Mr Illingworths lorry with the Home Guards 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 Normans 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.