Norman Hanson was a 26-year-old Civil Servant at the outbreak of World War Two. Although working in a reserved occupation Hanson was allowed to join the Royal Navy's Fleet Air Arm in 1941. After pilot training with the US Navy in Florida he served in Egypt, before serving aboard the HMS Illustrious in the Far East. For his courage, skill and determination while leading 1830 Naval Air Squadron he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross. Hanson returned to civilian life in 1946. He died in 1980 shortly after the publication of the critically acclaimed Carrier Pilot.