Norman Leslie Skewes

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Norman Leslie Skewes
Skewes Norman Leslie.jpg
Western Mail 5 Jul 1918 p.7s
Personal Information
Date of Birth 17 Sep 1883
Place of Birth Port Adelaide, South Australia
Death 30 Aug 1956, aged 72
Place of Death Gnowangerup, Western Australia
Age at Enlistment 31 years, 7 months
Description 5' 9 3/4" (1.77m) tall ; 176 lbs
79.832 kg
; fresh complexion ; light blue eyes ; reddy brown hair
Occupation Farmer
Religion Congregational
Address 'Kenwyn', Armadale, Western Australia
Next of Kin Wife , Mrs Mabel Skewes
Military Information
Reg Number 2516
Date of Enlistment 10 May 1916
Rank Sergeant
Unit/Formation 44th Battalion, 5th Reinforcement / 11th Brigade, 3rd Division
Date of Embarkation 9 Nov 1916 ‒ 10 Jan 1917
Ship Embarked On HMAT A8 Argyllshire
Date of Return 21 Mar 1919 ‒ 27 Apr 1919
Ship Returned On SS Kildonan Castle
Fate Wounded in Action 6 Apr 1918 2nd Dernancourt
Returned to Australia
Monument Armadale War Memorial (Bedfordale panel)
Bedfordale Roll of Honour
Armadale Congregational Church Honour Board
Armadale and Districts Roll of Honour
Medals British War Medal
Victory Medal




Pre War

Electoral Roll entries - 1906 at 401 Newcastle street, West Perth, operator; 1910 - 1916 at 'Kenwyn', Armadale (Bedfordale), orchardist Married Mabel Ullahorne in 1912 in Leederville. Mabel died 23 Oct 1970 in Scarborough aged 82. Children Marjorie (10 Jun 1913 - ) Kathleen N (5 Aug 1916 - ).

War Service

Entered training at Blackboy Hill on 10 May 1916, and soon after attended the No4 NCO's School run in Claremont. Acted as Corporal from 8 Jul 1916 till 30 Sep 1916 after which he was acting Sergeant.

On arrival in England Norman was initially posted to the 11th Training Battalion (Durrington) staff where he reverted to Cpl for a time before again acting as Sergeant. He spent a fortnight in the Tidworth Military Hospital during the 8 months he was a member of the permanent cadre of the training battalion before proceeding overseas on 4 Dec 1917 from Southampton.

Norman joined the 44th Battalion on 9 Dec 1917 near Ploegsteert in Belgium, reverting again to Corporal. On 6 Apr 1918 the 44th Battalion were holding the line where the Australians had stopped the German attack between Le Hamel on the southern side of the Somme, and Sailly-le-Sec on the northern side. The only mention in the battalion's War Diary of Other Rank (OR) casualties on the day that Norman was recorded as being wounded, relates to three wounded casualties during a patrol during the darkness, before dawn.

Norman suffered a GSW to his left forearm, causing a fracture. He passed through the 11th Field Ambulance and the 4th General Hospital before being evacuated on HMHS Newhaven to England on the 11 Apr 1918, where he was admitted to the 4th Southern General Hospital in Plymouth the next day.

Norman was discharged to the 1st Australian Auxiliary Hospital on 1 Jun 1918 before being released on furlough from 4 - 18 Jun 1918, after which he again proceeded to France from Folkestone, joining the Australian Infantry Base Depot (AIBD) in Rouelles for a few days until transport to the 44th Battalion was available. At that time they were in the Chipilly area. This is about 5 - 8 km from Sailley-le-Sec where he had been wounded four months earlier.

On 13 Sep 1918 he was appointed Lance Sergeant, and on 8 Oct 1918 promoted again to Sergeant. He remained with the battalion in France until 23 Feb 1919 when he moved to England for early repatriation to Australia.

Discharged at 5th Military District 12 Jun 1919.

"... Sailed as a Sergeant with the 5th Reinforcements of the 11th Battalion..."[1]

Post War

Additional children arrived - Joyce Rita (1921 - 31 Dec 2015; married Thomas Herbert Hams 9 Oct 1942); and son David Thomas (b. 7 May 1924 - RAAF Officer from 1942).

Mentioned in Jun 1922 edition of "The Listening Post" as wielding the baton at an Armadale RSL Glee Party.

Electoral Roll entries - 1925 - 1931 at "Kenwyn", Armadale, an orchardist with Mabel; 1936 - 1937 Norman alone at Broome Hill, manager; 1938 - 1954 now in Tonganup street, Gnowangerup with Mabel, an accountant.

From 1938 Norman played an active role in the Gnowangerup RSL Sub branch, and other community bodies, including the local Volunteer Defence Corps during WW2. Enlisted in the militia with Regimental No W71014.

References

  1. "The Drill of the Foot-Hills" (PDF) (1917). Western Australia. Mar 1917. p. 10. Retrieved 16 May 2017 – via State Library of Western Australia. 

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