Norman, Reginald Havill

Accession Number PR04524
Collection type Private Record
Record type Collection
Measurement 1 wallet: 2 cm.
Object type Diary
Place made Belgium, France
Date made 1916-1917
Access Open
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918
Copying Provisions Copyright restrictions apply. Only personal, non-commercial, research and study use permitted. Permission of copyright holder required for any commercial use and/or reproduction.

Collection relating to the First World War service of Captain Reginald Havill Norman, 6th Australian Brigade. Collection consists of a diary kept by Norman, recorded in an Army Book 152 Correspondence Book. The diary covers 1 October to 4 November 1916 while Norman was Staff Captain with 6th Australian Infantry Brigade; then recommences on 24 July 1917 when a new commander had taken over and concludes on 19 September 1917. Most diary entries record the weather, equipment, movements, and reinforcements. The diary ends with preparations for what he calls the 'big show' (Third Battle of Ypres) in late 1917. The diary also contains a few pencilled sketches.

History / Summary

Just a few days after war was declared in August 1914, Norman applied for a commission with the ANMEF and took part in Australia's first significant action of the war at Rabaul where the ANMEF took possession of German New Guinea and the neigbouring islands of the Bismarck Archipelago. He returned to Australia in January 1915 and discharged from the ANMEF.

In May 1915 he again applied for a commission in the AIF and was posted as a second lieutenant to 5 Infantry Brigade Headquarters. He embarked in May for Egypt and was promoted to Captain in June. He accompanied 5 Infantry Brigade to Gallipoli, landing on 16 August. He served on 5 Brigade's staff until 11 December, when he transferred to 6 Infantry Brigade Headquarters as a staff captain. He was recommended for a Military Cross for his outstanding organisational ability and leadership during the evacuation of Gallipoli. After the evacuation, he returned to Egypt where the AIF spent several months before sailing for France in March.

Norman took part in the costly Battle for Pozieres, where he was again recommended for a Military Cross for not only doing his own work, but acting for the Brigade Major as well. He was mentioned in despatches for his efforts. He was again recommended for a Military Cross in September.

In November, Norman was transferred back to 5 Infantry Brigade Headquarters as Brigade Major. He returned to 6 Brigade in this capacity on 21 January 1917. Norman was accidentally wounded in the hand on 11 April and was evacuated to England for treatment. On 5 June, the day before he was to sail back to France, he was awarded the Military Cross.

On November 23, Norman transferred to 48 Battalion, giving up his position as Staff Captain. The following day, he was promoted to Major and seconded to 12 Infantry Brigade Headquarters. After the fighting in Passchendaele for which Norman was again mentioned in despatches and the winter of 1917, 12 Brigade moved back into France to stem the advance of the German's spring offensive in March 1918. During the Allied advance on 8 August, Norman was recommended for and later awarded a Distinguished Service Order.

On 25 September, Norman was seconded to the American Army, to assist them with thier operations. He returned to 12 Brigade on 2 October and was again posted, this time to an officers course at Cambridge. Norman withdrew from the course in January 1919, but remained in England. He was awarded a Belgian Croix de Guerre on 5 April for his work during the Allied advance on 8 August 1918. He left England for Australia in November, disembarking in Sydney on 4 January 1920. He was discharged from the AIF in April.

He continued to serve with the CMF and when the Second World War began, he was mobilised on 18 December 1939 at the Command Recruiting Depot in South Melbourne, Victoria. He remained within Australia throughout the war and ceased full time duties with the rank of Brigadier on 30 May 1945.