The AIF Project

Gilbert NORRIS

Regimental number1425
Place of birthArmidale, New South Wales
SchoolBen Venue Public School, North Armidale, New South Wales
ReligionChurch of England
OccupationBlacksmith
AddressArmidale, New South Wales
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation18
Height5' 6"
Weight140 lbs
Next of kinMother, Mrs Mary Norris, Mayfield, Rockvale Road, Armidale, New South Wales
Previous military serviceServed in the 13th Infantry, Citizen Military Forces; still serving at time of AIF enlistment.
Enlistment date10 August 1915
Place of enlistmentArmidale, New South Wales
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name12th Light Horse Regiment, 7th Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number10/17/2
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Sydney, New South Wales, on board HMAT A66 Uganda on 20 November 1915
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll19th Battalion
FateKilled in Action 3 May 1917
Place of death or woundingBullecourt, France
Age at death19.10
Age at death from cemetery records19
Place of burialNo known grave
Commemoration detailsAustralian National Memorial, Villers-Bretonneux, France

Villers-Bretonneux is a village about 15 km east of Amiens. The Memorial stands on the high ground ('Hill 104') behind the Villers-Bretonneux Military Cemetery, Fouilloy, which is about 2 km north of Villers-Bretonneux on the east side of the road to Fouilloy.

The Australian National Memorial, Villers-Bretonneux is approached through the Military Cemetery, at the end of which is an open grass lawn which leads into a three-sided court. The two pavilions on the left and right are linked by the north and south walls to the back (east) wall, from which rises the focal point of the Memorial, a 105 foot tall tower, of fine ashlar. A staircase leads to an observation platform, 64 feet above the ground, from which further staircases lead to an observation room. This room contains a circular stone tablet with bronze pointers indicating the Somme villages whose names have become synonymous with battles of the Great War; other battle fields in France and Belgium in which Australians fought; and far beyond, Gallipoli and Canberra.

On the three walls, which are faced with Portland stone, are the names of 10,885 Australians who were killed in France and who have no known grave. The 'blocking course' above them bears the names of the Australian Battle Honours.

After the war an appeal in Australia raised £22,700, of which £12,500 came from Victorian school children, with the request that the majority of the funds be used to build a new school in Villers-Bretonneux. The boys' school opened in May 1927, and contains an inscription stating that the school was the gift of Victorian schoolchildren, twelve hundred of whose fathers are buried in the Villers-Bretonneux cemetery, with the names of many more recorded on the Memorial. Villers-Bretonneux is now twinned with Robinvale, Victoria, which has in its main square a memorial to the links between the two towns.

Panel number, Roll of Honour,
  Australian War Memorial
89
Miscellaneous information from
  cemetery records
Parents: James Johnston and Mary NORRIS, 'Mayfield', Armidale, New South Wales
Family/military connectionsBrother: 145 Henry Arthur NORRIS, 33rd Bn, returned to Australia, 9 February 1919.
Other details

War service: Egypt, Western Front

Taken on strength, 2nd Light horse Regiment, 6 April 1916.

[Court of Enquiry, 1 November 1916, declared that he illegally absented himself without leave at Tel el Kebir on the 5th day of August 1916 and that he was still absent. This was an administrative error, because he had embarked for England in September - date not recorded.]

Transferred to 56th Bn, Parkhouse, England, 5 October 1916.

Proceeded overseas to France, 13 March 1917; taken on strength, 19th Bn, in the field, 5 April 1917.

Reported missing in action, 3 May 1917.

Court of Enquiry, held in the field, 11 December 1917, pronounced fate as 'killed in action, 3 May 1917'.

Medals: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal

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