McReynolds, Norman (No. 522965)

McReynolds, Norman

Leading Aircraftman

No. 522965, 269 Squadron, Royal Air Force

Killed in action on Monday 8 April 1940 (aged 23)

No known grave

Commemorated:

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Runnymede Memorial, Surrey, England (Panel 23)

Bangor and District War Memorial

Newtownards and District War Memorial

BIOGRAPHY

Norman McReynolds’s birth was registered in the second quarter of 1917 in South Shields, Durham and he was the younger son of Andrew Thomas and Hannah McReynolds (nee Gray) who were married on 15 October 1912 in 1st Clontibret Presbyterian Church, Co. Monaghan.  Andrew Thomas McReynolds from Portadown was a son of Henry John McReynolds, a sheriff’s officer.  Hannah Gray from Rockwallace in County Monaghan was a daughter of Samuel Gray, a farmer.

Andrew McReynolds worked as a barman and he and Hannah had a daughter and two sons:

Annie Eleanor May (born 15 May 1913 in Church Street, Portadown)

Leslie Oswald (born 2 May 1915 in Church Street, Portadown)

Norman (born 1917 in South Shields, Durham)

Their father, Andrew McReynolds, died of tuberculosis in Richhill on 28 November 1920 (aged 31).  His sister-in-law, Sarah Gray, was with him when he died.

After Andrew McReynolds died, his widow Hannah moved to County Down and when Norman was killed on 8 April 1940 she was living in High Street, Bangor.  Before he joined the Royal Air Force around 1935 Norman lived in Frances Street, Newtownards.  He was a member of 1st Newtownards Boys’ Brigade and was actively associated with local sport and social activities.

Norman McReynolds was a wireless operator, and he had his gunner’s badge.  During the Second World War he served with the Royal Air Force in Coastal Command and on 8 April 1940 he was one of a crew of four aboard an Avro Anson Mark I aircraft (N9678).  They took off at 10.55 am on patrol from Wick in Scotland and it is believed that their aeroplane crashed into the sea off Shetland.  Wreckage and a dinghy were found later.  The other crew members who died that day were:

  • Pilot Officer Peter Duncan Aldous (aged 20) from Victoria in British Columbia
  • Sergeant Gilbert Hunter Scott (aged 23) from Slough in Buckinghamshire
  • Corporal George Adolphus Verlaque (aged 23) from Paisley in Renfrewshire

Each year after Norman’s death his mother placed an In Memoriam notice in the County Down Spectator.  These notices included the verses:

In memory a constant thought,

 in heart a silent sorrow

 

Precious memories to cherish in an aching heart, like fadeless flowers

 

A memory may be a wound, but what is life without wounds?  

They are sacred

 

I look through the glass of memory

And what beautiful pictures I see

Leading Aircraftman Norman McReynolds (No. 522965) was 23 when he died, and he has no known grave.  He is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial in Surrey, on Bangor and District War Memorial, and on Newtownards and District War Memorial.