Charles Talbot Norman
by Rosie Norman
My husband's NORMAN ancestors have been traced back several generations, many working in the quarries on the Isle of Purbeck and through intermarriage connecting with other families in the area.
Walter NORMAN, born 1858 in Swanage was no exception - his occupation noted on the census was stonemason/quarryman. His wife, (they married on 25 December 1876 at Swanage Parish Church), was Sarah Talbot HATCHARD, born 1858 in Langton Matravers. Walter died age 55 in 1913 and Sarah in 1924 - they are buried together in Northbrook Cemetery, Swanage. In 1881 they were shown living at Bell Street, Swanage and in 1901 at 1 Providence Cottages, Swanage where they raised a family of 5 - Walter (1878-1929), Charles Talbot (1884-1918), Ann and Samuel 1885, Alfred 1888-1961. By 1918 they were living at New Cottages, Herston.
Meanwhile, back home in Dorset, Annie received the stark notification “Madam, it is my painful duty to inform you that a report has been received from the War Office notifying the death of No 138556 Gunner Charles Talbot Norman, Regiment 138 Heavy Battery Royal Garrison Artillery which occurred with the B.E.F. France on the 4 July 1918. The report is to the effect that he was Killed in Action”
Widowed at 36, Annie returned to Swanage where she raised her children and also her nephew Francis Fred POND whose mother, Violet (nee PROWD), died when he was born in 1921. In November 1921 while living at Kingsley, Priest Road, Swanage she received a letter enclosing the British War and Victory Medals in memory of her husband’s service with the British Forces during the war. Her son Francis left the area when he joined the RAF as a boy entrant but both daughters married and settled in Swanage where Annie lived surrounded by family until the end of her life in the mid 1960’s.
A sad footnote to this tragic tale is the death of the only son Francis Charles Talbot Norman (age 25) in an air crash in 1939 but this is a story for another time.