Lt. Edward R. Norton
452 Bomb Squadron, 322 Bomb Group
J.A. Norton, Jr. & E.R. Norton, The Norton Twins
|Lt. F H Matthew and Lt. E R Norton of the third element of the lead
flight in the air. Lt. Norton's co-pilot was his twin brother, J A Norton.
These two aircraft joined the second flight to make a more effective force
to bomb the target. Unfortunately, the second flight was as lost as the
first, and had no idea where the target lay.
|On May 17, 1943, 11 B-26s took to the air in two flights. Lt. Edward
Norton was pilot of one of the six bombers in the fast flight. His brother
few as his co-pilot. As they approached the target at
Netherlands, they meet heavy flak, which seriously damaged the aircraft.
Nevertheless, the B-26 completed its mission. It turned toward home but
went down in the North Sea. The crew was listed as missing in action.
Sixty men from the aircraft on the mission failed to return. One survivor
eventually turned up as a prisoner of war.
In Conway on May 19, Dr. and Mrs. Norton received first one dreaded message and then a second. "Missing in action." A pall fell over the whole town. For months there was no further word. Eventually Dr. Norton discovered that the bomber had gone down over the North Sea. In September 1945 he learned from the mayor of Haarlem, The Netherlands, that the body of James washed ashore July 26, 1943. He is buried in the military cemetery at Margraten, Holland. His brother's body was never found.
Conway mourned with the parents. People told and retold the story of the twins - how they loved flying, how promising they were, how they were never separated. In the Norton family plot at Lakeside Cemetery in Conway, cenotaphs, one on each side of their parents, remind us of the loss of these brothers. Their names also appear on the memorial tablet in the Horry County Memorial Library in the company of other Horry County men lost in World War II.