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The Airmen's Stories - P/O R K C Norwood

Robin Keith Collen Norwood was born on 21st October 1910 in Chelsea, London, the son of John Norwood and Lilian Marie Blanche Norwood (nee Collier).

His father was descended from an ancient line that could be traced back to the marriage of the daughter of Harold Bluetooth, King of Denmark, and the son of King Olaf of Sweden in the 10th century.

He joined the 5th Dragoon Guards in February 1899 and was soon in action in the Boer War. On 30th October 1899, at Ladysmith, he led a patrol that came under heavy fire, forcing them to withdraw. They retreated at full speed but Pte. Mouncer was shot in the throat. Norwood went back 300 yards, picked him up and carried him on his back under heavy fire from the Boers.

Norwood made no mention of the incident in his report but the other members of the patrol pursued the matter and eventually he was awarded the VC (gazetted 20th July 1900).



He served as a staff officer to Major Bulfin’s column in 1902, being mentioned in despatches. He was adjutant of the Calcutta Light Horse from 1904 to 1907. Norwood was serving as a Captain with the Westminster Dragoons in 1914, but when the war began he returned to the 5th Dragoon Guards which was posted to France.

On his 36th birthday, 8th September 1914, he was in command of 3 Troops of B Squadron, ordered to attack Sablonnieres. He and Captain Robert Partridge were both killed along with two troopers when they were fired on by a large force of Germans. Norwood was the first VC holder to be killed in WW1.

He lies in Sablonnieres New Communal Cemetery.




RKC Norwood was awarded Aero Certificate 11925 at the Southern Aero Club on 27th May 1934, his occupation being recorded as 'Wine Merchant'.


He joined the RAFVR on 8th January 1938 as an Airman u/t Pilot. In the 1939 Census he was recorded as a 'patent agent'.

Called up on 1st September 1939, Norwood completed his intermediate and advanced training at 8 FTS Montrose on No. 19 Course, which ran from 6th May to 16th August 1940.


He was commissioned and arrived at 5 OTU Aston Down on 17th August. He was moved to 7 OTU Hawarden two days later.

After converting to Spitfires he joined 65 Squadron at Turnhouse on 2nd September.

His subsequent service is currently undocumented though it is known that he later served with Australian squadrons against the Japanese in the Timor Sea.

In 1946 Norwood was released from the RAF as a Flight Lieutenant.

He died on 2nd April 1970.


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