Henry Nigel St Valery (Nigel) Norman

civil engineer (aviation)
Place of Birth

  • Birth date            21 May 1897 at St. George Hanover Square, London
  • Marriage              1926 to Patricia Moyra, eldest daughter of  Lt. Col. J.H.A. Annesley
  • Baronet               1939, Norman succeeded to the title 2nd Baronet of Honeyhanger on the death of his father
  • Death date          19 May 1943, Norman died when Lockheed Hudson IIIA FH168 that was to carry him to North Africa crash landed after take-off from RAF St.Eval and burst into flames.
  • Burial                  Clifferdine Wood Cemetery, Rendcomb, Gloucestershire

Henry Nigel St Valery Norman was the only child of journalist and travel writer Henry Norman, and Ménie Muriel Dowie. Following officer training at the Royal Military College, Sandhurst, he served as a subaltern with the Royal Garrison Artillery during the First World War, later transferring to the Royal Corps of Signals. In 1926 Norman volunteered for reserve service as a pilot with No. 601 (County of London) Squadron in the Auxiliary Air Force, and he later assumed duties as a flight commander. In 1934, he transferred to the Auxiliary Air Force Reserve of Officers in the rank of squadron leader. During the Second World War he commanded No. 110 Army Co-operation Wing based at RAF Ringway. In 1928, Norman co-founded Airwork Services with Alan Muntz and in 1929, the company opened Heston Aerodrome.  that was active in private, commercial and military aviation until its closure in 1947. In 1931, he was appointed Officer Commanding of No. 601 Squadron.

On May 21st it was officially announced that Air Commander Sir Nigel Norman, Bart., A.A.F., had lost his life this month while flying on active service. Henry Nigel St. Valery Norman was born on May 21st, 1897, son of the Right Hon. Sir Henry Norman (created a baronet of Honeyhanger, Surrey, 1915), whom he succeeded in 1939. He was educated at Winchester, and at Trinity College, Cambridge, and during the T914-1S war served in France in the K.G.A.' and the R.E. In 1926 he became a private aircraft owner, and two years later, with Mr. F. A. I. Muntz, founded Airwork Limited to construct and develop Heston Airport. He specialised in planning airports in this country and abroad. In 1926 he joined the Auxiliary Air Force as a pilot officer, and served with No. 601 (County of London) Squadron for10 years, being promoted squadron leader in November, 1931. In March, 1940, he became temporary, wing commander; in June, 1942, temporary group captain, and in March this year acting air commodore. From the early days of the war he worked in close collaboration with the Army on matters pertaining to airborne troops. It was his brain which controlled the air side of the first British paratroop raid on Italy shortly after she entered the war. He not only arranged all the details, but took a personal interest in all the numerous training exercises before the raid and accompanied the paratroops on the expedition, returning. regretfully, he said, in an aircraft, as he was not at that time a proficient parachutist. When he got back, he went on a parachute course at one of the R.A.F. schools. He distinguished himself in the raid by British parachute troops on the coast of northern France in March, 1942, when the radio location post at Bruneval, 12 miles north of Havre, was destroyed. It was a combined operation of the Royal Navy, the Army, and the Royal Air Force, the carrying force of RAF bombers being under Grp. Capt. Sir Nigel Norman and led by Wing Cdr. P. C. Pickard. As officer commanding a R.A.F. formation of an airborne division he was responsible for the intricate organisation before the trans-port of our airborne troops to North Africa. In 1926 Norman married Patricia Moyra, eldest daughter of the late Lt. Col  J. H. A. Annesley, and they had three sons, the eldest of whom, Mark Annesley, born on February 8th, 1927, succeeds as third baronet. Private flying, commercial and Service aviation all lose a man of a type they can ill spare in the death of Nigel Norman. For the four years he commanded 601 squadron, those who were associated with him knew that a better or more enthusiastic commanding officer could hardly have been found. His interest in aviation was unbounded, and there were few aspects of it that he omitted from his activities. In 1935, in association with Graham Dawbarn, he founded the firm of Norman and Dawbarn, and was responsible for the lay-out of many municipal airports in this country, including those at Birmingham, Ringway, Jersey, and Guernsey. He was a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society, a member of the Aviation Committee of the London Chamber of Commerce, and a member of the Council of the Air Registration Board, of which body he was also chairman of the Design and Construction Panel. It is not only for his aviation activities that Nigel Norman will be remembered. He combined an imaginative approach to the problems of civil aviation which, together with his great personal charm and translucent integrity of character, made it certain that he would have played a great part in the future of civil aviation. [Flight 27 May 1942 page 559]


Name Designation Formed Dissolved Location
Norman and Dawbarn aeronautical consultants 1933 2005 London