Saved by mates during Second World War

SECOND World War pilot Norman Lord distinctly remembers the shrapnel flying and searchlights flaring as he dodged enemy fire over Europe.

The 93-year-old, who flew 37 sorties, feels blessed to be alive today and knows, better than most, the harsh cost of war.

Sadly, his brother Martin Lord was not so lucky - he was brought down over Germany on March 27, 1943.

Mr Lord, from Teven, tries not to think about the realities of war, but Anzac Day presents an inescapable conclusion for the veteran.

"It's a day of memories," he said quietly.

"Cause' I lost a brother who was shot down over Germany, my father was a Gallipoli veteran and Uncle Clive was in the Navy.

"And you think about all of the crew you flew with - a good bunch of blokes who saved my hide more than once.

"It's an emotional experience if I sit down and think about it, but I try not to too much."

FAMILY TRIBUTE: For WWII bomber pilot Norman Lord of Alstonville, Anzac Day is a time for memories.
FAMILY TRIBUTE: For WWII bomber pilot Norman Lord of Alstonville, Anzac Day is a time for memories. Cathy Adams

The respected former flying officer has only missed two Anzac Day commemorations since he returned from the frontlines of the Second World War.

Mr Lord grew up in New Zealand and fought with the Royal New Zealand Air Force through conscription at age 21, earning five medals for his dedicated service.

Replicas of the medals, including the 1939-45 Star and Italy Star, will hang proudly from his grandson's chest this Anzac Day.

"I think it's great that the children are being educated about it all," he said.

"It seems to be getting bigger and bigger every year.

"A lot of people out there would have a family member that's been shot or killed."

Mr Lord is decidedly modest about his valiant efforts, but his rear gunner during the war decided to thank him for his camaraderie in a notable way.

He named his son Norman and Mr Lord still keeps in touch with him today.

"Cliff thought I was pretty good," he joked.

"After we did a few landings and I had the knack of putting it down quite smoothly, he'd say 'alright skipper, can I get out now?'

"I keep in touch with his son Norman now."

Mr Lord spent his days as a motor mechanic after the war, only stepping back in the cockpit once since his time in conflict.

"On my 80th birthday I went to New Zealand and hired a Cessna, took it off and flew it around for an hour or so," he said.

"When we were coming through the mountains towards the aerodrome I said to the instructor 'you'd better take it now mate, not so sure about my landings now'."


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