VE Day

The war ended May 1945 and pilot Norman had been overseas for one and half years. It was time to return home to Canada. But not before visiting his Uncle George Tilston, Aunt Kitty and cousins Jean, Joyce, Pauline at Irlam, Lancashire. My mother was Jean, she remembers Noman well and the joy of seeing him safe. This equally shared by our Tilly-cousins in Wigan and even more so in Canada, by Norman's parents Tom and Dora and sisters Dorothy and Lillian. Relishing the return of brave son - handsome brother.

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Jean Tilston biking over Warburton Bridge

Poiniant moments set in stone, mother recollects Uncle Norman surprising her one afternoon - an officer and gentleman he arrived outside her factory gates to collect and walk her home, she wearing black wooden clogs and white head scalf, Norman togged up in brilliant Rcaf turnout. Crowds of factory girls whistled in envy as the two young cousins giggled off down the lane together hand in hand, leaving all wondering "about Jeans Canadian charmer". He came back and forth for 2 weeks making the most of seeing Uncle George and family, whilst queing at nearby Burtonwood air base awaiting his return flight home to Canada. Sadly little did mother or my family realise they would never see Norman again.

halis bombing city

Bomber Command punished the Germans for raids on London

War an evil fact of life

In truth there are no winners just victims. After the great confrontation, Norman probably carried silent scars after losing so many comrades left behind in the killing grounds of Europe. He had helped crush Hitler's war machine, but at what price? Norman and his aircrew like many other bomber crews had to carry out slayers orders from "Bomber Harris" of Bomber Command. It was for these young lads an evil necessity killing many innocent German souls in the cities and factories below their feet - ordinary men, women, and children, like his own kind on the cobbled streets of Lancashire.

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Daylight Bombing Mission

This wartime act was a heavy burden for many serviceman to harbour for the rest of their lives. But we must never forget, defending your homeland from a tyrant invader such as Hitler - you have little choice. The reality was, had the Hun's conquered Britain and our shores fallen into German hands - unlike ironman King William a 1000 years earlier, who spared our native countrymen - Hitler would not have been so generous, instead taking bitter revenge after losing the great war of 1914-18. Exterminating every British national in sight? It doesn't bear thinking. Thanks to the bravery and courage of our young servicemen, this never materialised. Norman never talked about the war again.

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