The Norman triplets, Kenneth Valentine, Beatrice Louise and Dorothy Hilda, were born on 26th August 1891 - the only triplets known to have been born in Godalming since records began. Their father, Valentine Norman MPS, came to Godalming in 1886, taking over the chemist’s business from a Mr Barnes.

Kenneth Norman was educated in Godalming and at Cranleigh School and was then apprenticed to a pharmacist in Sittingbourne, Kent. He joined the army in the 1914- 1918 war and was severely wounded in the later stages of the battle of the Somme. After convalescence in England, he continued to serve in an administrative capacity until his discharge in 1919. While convalescing, he wrote his first volume of war memoirs, with a second volume after his release from the army. Both volumes were gratefully received a few years ago, by a specialist war library attached to Leeds University. Kenneth subsequently passed his finals for the MPS and helped his father in business. In 1920 he married Flora, eldest daughter of William Debenham. They had two sons, Basil (who died in 1996) and William (Bill). Kenneth was in the choir of Godalming Parish Church and later in Farncombe Church. He was a member of the Ivy League (British Legion), the Conservative Club and Godalming Bowling Club. During the 1939 - 1945 war he was an air raid warden. In 1944 he took over the running of the shop, becoming proprietor after his father died in 1946.

He retired in 1949 and died in 1961, aged 70. His wife, Flora, lived until 1983 dying at the ripe old age of 92.

Beatrice Louise Norman (better known as Trixie) was educated at St Catherine's Bramley. She was well known in church circles and played the violin with the Godalming Operatic Society. Her mother died in 1923 and Beatrice, who remained unmarried, stayed at home to look after her father.

She died in 1947, aged 56, after a long illness.

Dorothy Hilda Norman also went to St Catherine's. During the 1914-1918 war she helped in her father's shop. She met and became engaged to a Canadian soldier, Percy Hughes, who was of Lancastrian origin and had emigrated to Canada before the war. They were not married until 1925, when they left to live in New York. They had no children and after Percy's death in 1971, Dorothy returned to England and lived out the rest of her days in a cousin's nursing home in Nottingham.

She died in 1977, aged 86.



Return to The People's Gallery or The First World War