Paton, Norman Giles (No. 403)

Paton, Norman Giles (Norman)


H.M.M.L. No. 403, Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve

Killed in action on Thursday 22 August 1918 (aged 31)

No known grave


Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Chatham Naval Memorial, Kent, England (Panel 31)

Bangor and District War Memorial

Royal British Legion (Bangor Branch) Memorial Plaque

Comrades of the Great War (Bangor Branch) Album in North Down Museum

Methodist College Belfast

Journey of Remembering Belfast Book of Honour

Hamilton Road Presbyterian Church Bangor

Family grave headstone in Bangor Cemetery, Newtownards Road, Bangor

Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club Memorial Plaque


Norman Giles Paton was born on 2 October 1886 at 4 Osborne Terrace, Belfast and he was the eldest son of John and Maggie Paton (nee Brown) who were married on 1 June 1883 in Wellington Place Evangelical Union Presbyterian Church Belfast.

The Paton family lived in Belfast before moving to Bangor where they lived at Ardmore, Seaforth Road.

John Paton (born in Dunfermline) was a manufacturer’s agent and he and Maggie had six children:

Margaret Brown (Meta, born 22 July 1885 in Wesley Cottage, Wesley Avenue, Belfast)

Norman Giles (born 2 October 1886 at 4 Osborne Terrace, Belfast)

Francis Joseph Noel (Frank, born 14 March 1889 at 4 Osborne Terrace, Belfast)

Edith Helen (born 21 July 1891 at 41 Ashley Avenue, Belfast; died of bronchitis 18 November 1891 at 41 Ashley Avenue, Belfast)

John Stanley (born 22 December 1894 at 47 Ashley Avenue, Belfast)

Eileen Olive (born 8 February 1899 at 47 Ashley Avenue, Belfast)

Norman Paton was educated at Methodist College Belfast and prior to the outbreak of the Great War he worked in the linen business with his father in Linenhall Street, Belfast.

Norman Paton obtained his commission in May 1918 and served on His Majesty’s Motor Launch No. 403 in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve.  He was killed in action on 22 August 1918 while salving a German torpedo in Runswick Bay in the North Sea (five miles north of Whiby in Yorkshire).  The previous day a German submarine had fired a torpedo which missed its target and ran aground without exploding.  Bomb disposal experts were sent out to recover the torpedo and it was lifted safely out of the water but detonated as it was being defused.  Four depth charges aboard the launch also exploded and there was a further explosion as the fuel tanks ignited.  Windows were shattered in the village of Runswick.

After Norman’s death, it was reported that his brother Frank had been invalided out of the army after three years’ service with the Royal Irish Rifles.

Sub-Lieutenant Norman Giles Paton was 31 when he died and he has no known grave.  He is commemorated on Chatham Naval Memorial in Kent; on Bangor and District War Memorial; on the Royal British Legion (Bangor Branch) Memorial Plaque; in the Comrades of the Great War (Bangor Branch) Album in North Down Museum (Page 26); in Methodist College Belfast; in the Belfast Book of Honour (Page 523) and in Hamilton Road Presbyterian Church Bangor.  He is also commemorated on the family grave headstone in Bangor Cemetery along with his father, John Paton, who died on 17 September 1929; his mother Margaret who died on 6 October 1939; his brother Stanley who died on 12 January 1951; his brother Francis who died on 10 February 1954; his brother-in-law Lieutenant Lowry Edmunds Berkeley (Connaught Rangers) who died on 16 January 1927 and Lowry’s wife, Margaret Berkeley, (Norman’s sister) who died on 12 December 1946.

Lieutenant Lowry Edmunds Berkeley’s brother, Lance Corporal William Lowry Berkeley, served with the South African Infantry and he died on active service on 24 April 1917 (aged 27).