|Surname||NOTMAN (photo added)|
|Place of Birth||GRETNA, DUMFRIESSHIRE, UNITED KINGDOM|
|Date of Birth||Thursday, 22 September 1921|
|Date of Death||Sunday, 02 July 1944|
|Residence or Entered Service From||ANNAN, DUMFRIESSHIRE, UNITED KINGDOM|
|Service Number||3189059||Force||British Army|
|Service/Corps/Regiment||King's Own Scottish Borderers|
|Unit / Ship / Battalion / Squadron||4 Commando, 1st Special Service Brigade|
|Regiment/Unit attached to||4 Commando, 1st Special Service Brigade|
|Military Honours and Awards||1939-1945 Star, France and Germany Star, Defence Medal, 1939-1945 War Medal|
|Place of Burial/Commemoration||
RANVILLE WAR CEMETERY
Roll of honour
|Grave/Memorial Location||IVA. M. 2.|
|Previous Place(s) of Burial||HAMEAU OGER (Also known as Hauger or Hoger)|
|Epitaph||TREASURED ARE THE YEARS SPENT WITH THEE, SWEET THY MEMORY|
|Family Details||SON OF JOHN AND ISABELLA NOTMAN, OF ANNAN, DUMFRIESSHIRE.|
Commonwealth War Graves Commission records state Private JOHN NOTMAN's age, when he was killed, as 21 years old. His death certificate states he was 23 years old. His birth certificate, however, confirms his age as 22 years old.
Born in Gretna, Dumfriesshire, Scotland, United Kingdom on 22nd September 1921 JOHN NOTMAN had 6 siblings: Mary, Jessie, William, Bella, Peter and Anne. His father had served in the First World War with the Highland Light Infantry and Black Watch.
JOHN NOTMAN's sister, Mary, served in the Women's Royal Naval Service (WRNS/Wrens) during the Second World War.
After the Second World War his brother, William, served with 1 Battalion, King's Own Scottish Borders in Korea during 1951, and his brother Peter served with 1 Battalion, King's Own Scottish Borderers in Malaya during 1955 and 1956. His sister Anne also served in the Australian Army.
JOHN NOTMAN joined the Territorial Army on the 25th January 1938, when he was 16 years old, he served with 5 Battalion, King's Own Scottish Borderers.
On the 2nd September 1939 he was tranferred to 1 Battalion, King's Own Scottish Borderers and served overseas with the British Expeditionary Force in France. Soon after he transferred to 4 Commando.
Before landing in Normandy with F Troop, 4 Commando, on D-Day, Private JOHN NOTMAN had taken part in Operation JUBILEE, the raid on Dieppe, Normandy, in August 1942. He was part of 4 Commando whose objective it was to attack and destroy the Hess Battery at Vareneville.2
Private JOHN NOTMAN is mentioned in the history of 4 Commando Swiftly They Struck written by Murdoch C. McDougall, who was the Section officer of F Troop, and later 3 Troop, in Normandy.
Lieutenant Murdoch C. McDougall recalls seeing Private Notman in his landing craft as they approached the Normandy coastline on Wednesday the 19th August 1942... 'Two hundred yards to go The barrage would be lifting now, but the noise seemed much the same. I looked round the boat. Thirty-two pairs of eyes seemed fixed upon me. Panic seized me My mouth was dry. God don't let me do anything idiotic. Please let me seem normal. I glanced round the faces I knew so well - Notman, ginger-haired, dour, sitting nursing the nozzle of his flamethower; Kavanagh, at eighteen the youngest member of the troop.'3
Later, in the book, Murdoch C. McDougal describes the loss of one of his men following a mortar bombardement by the German forces. Although not mentioned by the name the demise of the casualty, matches the account Isabella Notman, JOHN NOTMAN's mother, was told about how her son was killed. The text also describes the courage and heroism this man had and his concern, for his fellow commandos, shown during the daring raid by 4 Commando at Dieppe in 1942... 'he was respected in the troop, the friends he had trusted him and stood by him as he did by them, and as he had been in the troop longer than most, he was accepted as a sort of institution.
At Dieppe, where the unit landed in gym shoes, his had come unstuck in a bog and he had carried out the assault in his stockin soles. His troop officers had both been killed, [Captain] Pat Porteous [awarded the Victoria Cross for his action at Dieppe] had taken over, and although wounded had led the final charge to the gunpits, where he was wounded again and lost consciousness. on the withdrawel from the battery position, still in stocking soles, this man had helped carry the wounded officer back towards the beach.4
Returning to Normandy on D-Day 6th June 1944, 4 Commando had taken heavy casualties throughout the month. Murdoch C. McDougal recalls how, early in July, a mortar took the life of this brave man... 'This was the last bomb they sent across, and when the noise died away, the occupants of the next trench, on looking out to see where it had landed, saw a struggling figure, with clothes alight and nerves in shreds, crawling painfully towards their trench. It was the other occupant of the sentry's trench, who could only whisper:
"Get him out, he's still in there."
And so from the ruin of the trench, they dug him out. The first bomb had been close, the second had crushed the walls of the trench, and as it was doing so the third had struck the branches of the hedge overhead. The splinters had scythed downwards at an angle, some striking and igniting the phospherous grenades on the lip of the trench, exploding the thirty-sixes, and some had hurtled through the entrance of the trench itself. Only by exploding where it did could this have happened, and it was just bad luck that he was crouching inside the trench with his back to the door.
He was still alive when we dug him out, but only just. And as we lay him gently on his face on the grass of the orchard, and sent for the doc and ambulance jeep, he whispered jeeringly at us:
"Let me die, ye bastards, let me die, ye're wasting yer time."
And as we lifted him and placed him on the stretcher on the jeep, he died.7
Private JOHN NOTMAN was killed in action at Hameau Oger (also known as Hauger or Hoger), near Amfréville, on Sunday 2nd July 1944.
War Diary 4 Commando, for 2nd July 1944.
|1.||Photographs and additional information, unless otherwise credited, kindly provided by Jacqueline Foster, niece of Private JOHN NOTMAN.|
|2.||A detailed list of the men of 4 Commando who took part in the raid on Dieppe can be found on the Commando Veteran Association website.|
|3.||Text from Swiftly They Struck, p.73. Published by Grafton Books, 1988. by Murdoch C. McDougall. (first published by Odhams Press Ltd in 1954).|
|4.||Text from Swiftly They Struck, pp.149-150. Published by Grafton Books, 1988. by Murdoch C. McDougall. (first published by Odhams Press Ltd in 1954).|
|5.||Photograph kindly provided by Commando Veterans Association.|
|6.||Photograph kindly provided by Commando Veterans Association.|
|7.||Text from Swiftly They Struck, p.153. Published by Grafton Books, 1988. by Murdoch C. McDougall. (first published by Odhams Press Ltd in 1954).|
|8.||Photograph kindly provided by Stephane Saint Martin.|
Acknowledgements and Credits
|Source of original data:||Commonwealth War Graves Commission|
|Headstone photograph:||Carl Shilleto|
|Cross marker photograph:||Jacqueline Foster, niece of Private JOHN NOTMAN.|
|Individual photograph:||Jacqueline Foster, niece of Private JOHN NOTMAN.|
|Additional photographs provided by:||Jacqueline Foster, niece of Private JOHN NOTMAN, Stephane Saint Martin, Richard Grayling and Carl Shilleto.|
|Additional information provided by:||Jacqueline Foster, niece of Private JOHN NOTMAN, Commando Veteran Association and Carl Shilleto. An additional memorial page for Private JOHN NOTMAN can be found on the Commando Veteran Association website.|
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