The Gordons

Gordon Nornable MC

Nornable fought with the French resistance in 1944. He was sent to join the Maquisards who operated in the German occupied Ain district, and train them in the use of small arms and explosives. He fought alongside them in the forests where surrender was not an option as prisoners on both sides faced torture and execution. He spent time in hiding with wounds to his chin and arm. Nornable was fluent in French, athletic and very brave. In one instance he was teaching the use of grenades, and threw one which did not explode. "It was a very unpleasant situation," he said afterwards, "Everyone was looking at me wondering whether I was going to leave it there. But I couldn't do that - I had to get rid of it." He walked to where it was lying, picked it up and threw it. This time it exploded safely. When the area was clear of Germans he organised the return of agents to Britain and attended an investiture in Edinburgh where he was given the Military Cross by the King. He also received the Croix de Guerre.

He was born in Sheffield on 9th Jan 1915 and educated at King Edward VII school. He won prizes for athletics, cricket and football. He worked in the Public Works Department in Sheffield for 6 years and joined the London Scottish in April 1940. In July 1942 he joined the 6th Battalion Gordon Highlanders at Swaffham in Norfolk. Later he volunteered for the SOE and was trained in parachuting, demolition and small arms. He received his commission in March 1944.

After the war, in July 1946, he returned to his job at the Public Works in Sheffield and retired in 1975. He never married and lived alone at Norton. He was almost a recluse for 20 years and died on 4th Nov 2002.

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by Stephen Luscombe