The AIF Project

Norman Reid FLEMING

Regimental number4397
Place of birthBallarat, Victoria
SchoolState School No 1896 Windsor; State School No 2855 Prahran, Victoria.
ReligionPresbyterian
OccupationTram employee
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation23
Height5' 8"
Weight143 lbs
Next of kinMother, Mrs Lillias Fleming, 18 Empress Road, East St Kilda, Melbourne, Victoria
Enlistment date17 September 1914
Date of enlistment from Nominal Roll1 October 1914
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name23rd Battalion, 11th Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/49/3
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Melbourne, Victoria, on board RMS Walwa on 23 April 1916
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll23rd Battalion
FateKilled in Action 3 May 1917
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
99
Miscellaneous information from
  cemetery records
Parents: Robert Christie and Lillias FLEMING. Native of Ballarat, Victoria
Family/military connectionsBrother: 5599 Pte Andrew Cumming FLEMING, 21st Bn killed in action, 10 April 1918.
Other details

War service: Egypt, Western Front

Embarked Alexandria to join the British Expeditionary Force, 9 May 1916; disembarked Marseilles, France, 18 May 1916.

Admitted to No 9 Section, 24 May 1916 (not yet diagnosed: slight); discharged to duty, 8 June 1916 (not venereal disease).

Taken on strength, 23rd Bn, in the field, 6 August 1916.

Killed in action, 3 May 1917.

Statement, Red Cross File, 727 Lance Corporal W.A. CORNELL, 23rd Bn: 'He was killed on May 3rd, 1917 not April 3rd. He was killed while acting as a runner at the Hindenburd line Bullecourt by a bullet and it is doubtful if he was burued as we would be to the left to allow another battalion to take over our position.'

Medals: British War Medal, Victory Medal
Miscellaneous detailsSee 710 Norman Reid FLEMING for first period of service.
SourcesNAA: B2455, FLEMING Norman Reid
Red Cross File No 1070804K

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