The AIF Project

Norman Langley SURMAN

Regimental number4280
Date of birth10 December 1897
Place of birthBroken Hill, New South Wales
SchoolNorth Adelaide Public School, South Australia; Broken Hill, New South Wales, and North Adelaide Public Schools, South Australia
ReligionMethodist
OccupationDraper
Address33 Main Terrace, North Adelaide, South Australia
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation18
Next of kinMother, Mrs M Surman, 33 Main Terrace, North Adelaide, South Australia
Previous military serviceServed in Cadets, North Adelaide, SA
Enlistment date25 August 1915
Date of enlistment from Nominal Roll18 August 1915
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name10th Battalion, 13th Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/27/4
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Adelaide, South Australia, on board HMAT A30 Borda on 11 January 1916
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll10th Battalion
Other details from Roll of Honour CircularEnlisted 25 August 1915, left Adelaide 11 January 1916.
FateKilled in Action 16 August 1916
Place of death or woundingMouquet Farm, Pozieres, France
Age at death18.9
Age at death from cemetery records18
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
151
Miscellaneous information from
  cemetery records
Parents: Joseph Langley and Mary Ann SURMAN, 35 Maple Avenue, Keswick, South Australia
Family/military connectionsBrother: 7084 Corporal William SURMAN, 13th Bn, returned to Australia, 1 July 1919.
Other detailsWar service: Egypt, France

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