Sergeant Observer - Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserves - Squadron 214 - Service No. 1263877
Norman Frank Ventham was born on 7th February 1924 in Gravesend, Kent. His father was John Jack Ventham, his mother was Edith Mary (née Baker), his father died in 1933. The first school that he attended was Wrotham Road School in Gravesend.
In 1935 Norman Ventham joined The County School for Boys – now known as Gravesend Grammar School. The Head Master at that time was the Reverend Samuel Lister. The County School for Boys was located in Darnley Road, Gravesend close to the Railway Station (now the Victoria Centre for Education). In 1938 the School moved to brand new premises in Church Walk, Milton, Gravesend opposite to Milton Church.
The School’s Admission Register lists Norman’s address as 43 Wingfield Road, Gravesend. Whilst at the School, Norman was in Town House and was a Prefect in 1939-40. In September 1939 Norman accompanied the School when it was evacuated to Shipmeadow, between Beccles and Bungay, on the Suffolk/Norfolk border.
In 1940 Norman left the School and started work at Martin’s Bank in Eltham. Prior to enlisting, he was a member of the Home Guard. He volunteered later in 1940 at the age of 16, joining the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserves, Service Number 1263877. He was sent to train in Canada.
By 1942, Norman was a Sergeant Observer with 214 Squadron, flying as part of Bomber Command, including a raid over Italy. On 9th December 1942, Norman Ventham was killed when he fell off a fire truck on the way back from a flight test, near Bury St Edmonds, Suffolk. He was 18 years old. He was buried at Gravesend Cemetery, Plot B.8. Grave 153, on 14th December 1942.
There are links below to Newspaper Clippings and Photographs from the Gravesend Grammar School Archives.
Below are links to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website and a few other websites that might be of interest: