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The Airmen's Stories - Sgt. N A J Price


Norman Albert Joseph Price was born on 27th July 1916 and working as a Surveyors clerk for Reading Council, Berkshire when he joined the RAFVR in March 1939 as an Airman u/t Pilot and began his elementary flying at 8 E&RFTS Woodley.

Called to full-time service on 1st September 1939, he went to 4 ITW Bexhill, moved on to 6 EFTS Sywell, then to 8 FTS Montrose. The course was split and Price was selected for twin-engined aircraft.

He converted to Blenheims at No. 1 (Coastal) OTU Silloth and joined 236 Squadron at St. Eval in early September 1940. The squadron's duties included escorting FAA torpedo aircraft attacking Channel shipping, reconnaissance of submarine bases and Channel ports, looking for Fw Condors harassing convoys and escorting convoys in the Atlantic.

In April 1941 Price converted to Beaufighters at RAF Chivenor and joined 272 Squadron. In May five aircraft of the squadron departed for the Middle East via Gibraltar and Malta. Only two arrived safely at Gibraltar, those of Price and the CO. Initially based at Abu Sueir, 272 moved later to Mersa Matruh, from where its main duty was to strafe enemy airfields. It also covered Tobruk convoys and made occasional operational visits to Malta.

In late November 1941 Price was shot down by flak near Agedabia. He made a belly-landing with the aircraft on fire and was then unable to get out when his hatch jammed. His navigator, Sgt. Southern, forced it open and Price got out, badly burned. The two men were captured and Price was taken to an Italian field hospital for treatment. He later went in a hospital ship to Caserta, near Naples, for further, but limited treatment.

After a year at Parma, Price went before a Red Cross Tribunal and was passed for repatriation, returning to England in April 1943.

After skin-grafting operations Price was posted to White Waltham to assist the ATA. As he was not flying he asked to be medically-boarded out of the RAF.

He was discharged in October 1945, as a Warrant Officer.

Price died in August 1996 in Henley.


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