NORRIS, Cecil James

Cecil was the son of Edwin and Charlotte Norris of Granville NSW.  His birth in 1887 was registered at Lithgow NSW. Prior to the War he was an Accountant at Pepper and Cutcher’s Store in Inverell and a member of the local Rifle and Masonic Clubs. 

He enlisted at Holsworthy in September 1915 and was one of a group of thirty two Inverell men farewelled at the Town Hall on 21 August 1915.  Prior to his departure from Inverell he was presented with a wrist watch by parishioners of St Augustine’s Church of England. Friends organised a farewell at the Hotel Inverell, and his work mates also held a function at which he was presented with a smoker’s outfit.

Cecil became a member of the 30th Battalion, 2nd Reinforcement which departed from Australia on HMAT A35 Berrima on 17 December 1915.  They arrived in Egypt at the end of January 1916. In March he was transferred to the 45th Battalion and promoted to Corporal. At the beginning of June his Battalion was sent to France.  Just a month later Cecil was Killed in Action at Pozieres.  He has no known grave and his name is inscribed on the Australian National Memorial, Villers-Bretonneux, France.

After arriving in France, Cecil wrote home describing some of his experiences.  The following is quoted from his letter published in the Inverell Times 15 August 1916.

In Egypt … ‘we had a very trying time with the intense heat and hard work in the desert … our trip across the Mediterranean was very interesting … one felt secure in the presence of British warships … every man wears a lifebelt continually … on arriving at Marseilles we settled down on the cobblestones … for a few hours sleep until midnight when we entrained in horse trucks.’ The men were ‘amazed at the unsurpassing beauty of the country of Southern France … another feature of our trip was the enthusiastic welcome we received as our train travelled along …’

The Inverell Honor Roll and Cenotaph bear the name of Cecil Norris.  He was one of 215 men for whom a memorial tree was planted during 1919 in Inverell’s Kurrajong Parade.

Image:  AWM PO8624.098