ACTON Norman Frederick
Regiment : 4th Battalion Worcestershire Regiment
Service number : PS6645
Conflict : WW1
Date of death : Killed in action on 23rd April 1917
Buried : Commemorated on Arras Memorial, France, Bay 6.
Relatives : Son of Mr. F. G. Acton, 154 Bath Rd, Worcester
Memorial : Worcester Guildhall
Also appears on : Worcester Kings School WW1 Memorial. Worcester Cathedral Cloister Windows Kings School. Worcester St Matthew's Church. Worcester Rowing Club WW1 Memorial.
Credits : 1. The Vigornian, June 1917, No.89, Vol.VIII. 2. The Worcestershire Regiment in the Great War by Captain H. FitzM. Stacke of the Regiment., 1928. 3. Researched and transcribed by Adrian Carter.
1. 2nd Lieut., Worcester Regt
Born, March 3, 1896. Killed, April 23, 1917
Norman Acton was the elder son of Mr. F. G. Acton, of Rainbow Hill, Worcester. He entered the School from the Cambridge School, Margate, in September, 1910, in Form III., and left early from the Remove in July, 1912, to take up a post in the City Accountant’s Office, from which he was subsequently moved to the City Health Department. Soon after his 19th birthday he joined the Public Schools’ Battalion, with which he served for two months as a private in the trenches. He was for a time attached to the Headquarters Staff near Bethune. After ten months’ service in France he returned to train for a commission at Oxford, and was gazetted to the 6th Worcesters. He went out again with another battalion just before Christmas, 1916 and fell in the fierce fighting of April 23rd, after much varied and faithful service. His Colonel writes: “He was a very promising young officer and a great favourite of us all.” Another officer: “We shall always remember his strong influence for good amongst the men.”
W. H. C.
2. At daybreak on the morning of 23rd April 1917, the platoons of the 4th Worcestershire rose to their feet and charged forward down the slope through a storm of shells. Their objective was to take Infantry Hill and the two woods that lay beyond it. The German front line was easily crossed and the Worcestershire companies reached the bottom of the hollow and pushed up the slope. Officer’s and men fell at every step but the enemy’s second line was stormed and within half an hour from the start, the 4th Worcestershire had advanced nearly a mile, had reached their objective, and had commenced to entrench. German counter attacks occurred throughout the day resulting in the enemy regaining control of the small copse at the southern end of the hill. Losses were heavy, Second Lieutenant Acton being one of the 8 officers who were killed.
3. Reports on Norman Acton appear in: Worcester Daily Times 30th April 1917, Worcester Herald 5th May 1917 (including photo), Kidderminster Times 12th May 1917 (including photo). Newspaper information Researched and transcribed by Adrian Carter.
A photograph of Lieutenant N.F. Acton of Worcester can be found in Berrow’s Worcester Journal Supplement, Saturday 5th May 1917, available at Worcestershire Archives.
Norman Acton has no known grave, the photograph available shows his name on the Arras Memorial.