Norman Henry Napier Fowler

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Norman Henry Napier Fowler
Personal Information
Date of Birth 11 Jul 1925
Place of Birth Greenhills, Western Australia
Death 19 Jun 2007, aged 81
Place of Death Brookdale, Western Australia
Age at Enlistment 18 years old
Description 5'8½" (1.74m) tall ; ; medium complexion ; hazel eyes ; brown hair
Occupation Labourer
Religion Church of England
Address Railway avenue, Armadale, Western Australia
Next of Kin Father , Mr. Henry Victor (Harry) Fowler
Military Information
Reg Number W57158
Date of Enlistment 3 Aug 1943
Rank Private
Unit/Formation 39th Australian Employment Company
Post War Details
Fate Returned to Australia

Pre War

War Service

On 3 Aug 1943 Norman was mobilised on a full time basis at Karrakatta and initially allocated to the General Reinforcements. On 16 Aug 1943 he was transferred to the 35th Australian Infantry Training Battalion at Guildford and two days later he was passed to the 3rd Australian Specialist Services Training Depot at Northam. However on 14 Sep 1943 Norman was admitted to the 118th Australian General Hospital with a hernia. On 4 October he was transferred to the York Civil Hospital and then on 18 Oct 1943 he was released to the 109th Australian Convalescent Depot until 15 Nov 1943 when he was transferred to Western Command Recruit Reception & General Details Depot for reallocation. During his time with he Rehab depot he had been reclassified A1.

On 22 Nov 1943 he found himself back with the 35th Australian Infantry Training Battalion where on 8 Feb 1944 he was granted Proficiency Pay, and then on 2 Jun 1944 he was transferred to the 2nd Australian Training Brigade in New South Wales. Arriving there on 9 Jun 1944 he was transferred again on 27 Oct 1944 to the Queensland Line of Communication Area, where he was allocated to the 39th Australian Employment Company. On 29 Nov 1944 they embarked in Brisbane for Lae in New Guinea, disembarking on 7 Dec 1944. Seven days later on the 14th they re-embarked in Lae for Jacquinot Bay on the south coast of New Britain where they disembarked on 16 Dec 1944. On 17 Oct 1945 Norman was transferred to the 33rd Australian Port Operating Company where he was employed as a winchman.

Transferred to Western Command Recruit Reception & General Details Depot on 7 Jun 1946 for reallocation, he was posted to Western Australian Fortress Engineers on 15 Jul 1946. Moved again on 9 Sep 1946 to the 31st Maintenance Platoon RAE before again joining the Western Command Recruit Reception & General Details Depot where he was discharged three days later on 23 Jan 1947.

Post War

During 1948 Norm married Marjorie Rose Donovan locally.

Electoral Roll entries: 1949 at Railway avenue, Armadale, labourer; 1954 - 1980 at Lot 20 Forrest road, Armadale, linesman.


During the period 1939 - 1945 some unit names changed more than once. In the case of Australian Employment Companies they were also known as Works Companies, Labour Companies, Labour Units, Labour Corps. For sake of consistency I have adopted the term Employment Company. The role they played did not change with title. They were established to ensure that the Australian Defence Force had a large force of soldiers dedicated to essential labouring tasks, providing the physical labour needed to maintain the war effort and support the fighting forces.

Of the total of 39 Companies, 11 were part or fully manned by non British citizens known then as 'aliens'. These alien companies were not issued with arms.

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