Noran Disbury



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It is with sadness that we report the death of Glider Pilot Regiment veteran Sergeant Noran Disbury on 4 Mar 20. Noran enlisted for service in the Royal Armoured Corps but transferred to the Glider Pilot regiment in April 1944. He was trained and ready for service in time for Operation Market Garden in Sep 44 and found himself offered up as a replacement pilot as preparations for the operation were in the final stages. As a member E Sqn 2 Wing GPR he went out with a Horsa on the third lift from Tarrant Rushton with members of the Polish Brigade and their 6 pdr anti tank gun and jeep combination. Plus an Alsatian dog. On the approach to the target the two rope was cut by shrapnel and the glider dropped out of the aircraft stream for a very heavy landing. All survived, including the dog but the aircraft had landed on a German gun position and they were quickly rounded up and taken prisoner. Noran’s experience post capture is worth repeating.
Noran was take to Stalag 12A, which was a large holding camp near Limburg in Germany. Shortly after he was transferred with others captured at Arnhem to a Prisoner of War camp in Southern Germany.. This involved a long rail journey in a cattle truck, during which the train was attacked by RAF Typhoons. Life in the overcrowded camp was uncomfortable with very basic rations of boiled vegetables and black bread. The camp was eventually liberated by the advance of the Red Army but there was no chance of an orderly evacuation to the West. He and three other British PoWs made their way on foot towards the River Elbe. At one point on their trek they bought an old Mercedes car from some Russian soldiers at the cost of a radio and 10 cigarettes. They eventually made contact with a US Army unit, who provided them with a jeep. The next stop was Hanau where they flew by Dakota into Bruges and then on from Bruges in a Lancaster to UK. The irony of that journey was that the pilot of the Lancaster had been the pilot of the Halifax that had towed Norma’s Horsa into Holland in Sep 44. When re-introduced the RAF Pilot said, “you took your time getting back”.


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