Norman John MCLEOD

Poppy

MCLEOD, Norman John

Service Numbers: 3395, 3060A
Enlisted: 20 July 1915
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 14th Infantry Battalion
Born: Carlton, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, May 1892
Home Town: South Melbourne, Port Phillip, Victoria
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Labourer
Died: Wounds, 3rd Casualty Clearing Station, Puchevillers, France, 29 August 1916
Cemetery: Puchevillers British Cemetery
Puchevillers British Cemetery (Plot III, Row F, Grave No. 15), France
Memorials: Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour
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World War 1 Service

20 Jul 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 3395, 14th Infantry Battalion
29 Sep 1915: Involvement Private, SN 3060A, 6th Infantry Battalion, Battle for Pozières
29 Sep 1915: Embarked Private, SN 3060A, 6th Infantry Battalion, RMS Osterley, Melbourne
28 Aug 1916: Wounded AIF WW1, Private, SN 3395, 14th Infantry Battalion, Mouquet Farm, In attack, GSWs left forearm and head Dow 3rd Casualty Clearing Station in Puchevillers
29 Aug 1916: Involvement Private, SN 3395, 14th Infantry Battalion, Battle for Pozières

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Biography contributed by Evan Evans

François Berthout

Pte 3395 Norman John Mcleod
14th Australian Infantry Battalion,
4th Brigade, 4th Australian Division

 
In the fields of red poppies of the Somme which sway in peaceful waves, stand, row after row, the white graves of thousands of young men who, here, fought and fell for their country, for freedom and peace in which they stand in silence in the eternal cities alongside their friends, their comrades who for France, gave their today and paid the supreme sacrifice and who, in respect, in our greatest care, in our love and our gratitude , will always be remembered and honored so that their names, their lives, their courage and their sacrifices are never forgotten and that is why I will always watch over them, to bring them back to life and to say thank you because thanks to them, today we live in peace.

Today, it is with the deepest respect and gratitude that I would like to honor the memory of one of these young men, one of my boys of the Somme who gave his today for our tomorrow.I would like to pay a very respectful tribute to Private number 3395 Norman John Mcleod who fought in the 14th Australian Infantry Battalion, 4th Brigade, 4th Australian Division, and who died of his wounds 105 years ago, on August 29, 1916 at the age of 24 on the Somme front.

Norman John Mcleod was born in 1892 in Melbourne, Victoria, and was the son of John and Caroline Mcleod, of 80 Lennox Street, Moonee Ponds, Victoria but after his father's death Norman and his mother lived at 14 Bucker Street, South Melbourne.Before the outbreak of the war, Norman worked as a labourer.

Norman enlisted on July 20, 1915 in Melbourne, Victoria, in the 14th Australian Infantry Battalion whose headquarters opened at an office at 178 Collins Street, Melbourne in the last week of September 1914. On 1 October it relocated to Broadmeadows Camp where the battalion's recruits , principally from Melbourne and its suburbs, were taken on strength and trained. With the 13th, 15th and 16th Battalions, the 14th formed the 4th Brigade commanded by Colonel John Monash.

After a two-month training period at Broadmeadows Camp, Victoria, Norman joined the 11th Reinforcement and embarked with the 14th Australian Infantry Battalion from Melbourne, on board HMAT A71 Nestor on October 11, 1915 and sailed for Egypt.
On March 4, 1916, Norman arrived in Egypt and was disembarked to Tel-El-Kebir then marched to Serapeum where he completed his training in a particularly hot weather and on June 1, he was sent with his battalion to Alexandria where they joined the BEF (British Expeditionary Force) and embarked the same day on board Transylvania and proceeded overseas for France.

After a one-week trip at sea on the calm waters of the Mediterranean Sea, Norman arrived in France and was disembarked in Marseilles on June 8, 1916 then sent by train to Bailleul where he arrived on June 11 and with the 14th Australian Infantry Battalion , followed a new period of training and entered the trenches for the first time at Bois Grenier on June 28, a relatively calm sector of the front but three days later, on July 1, 1916, the Battle of the Somme began and was the deadliest day in the history of the British army which lost 57,400 men on that day alone, of which 19,240 were killed in action and a month later, on August 7, 1916, Norman and the 14th Battalion were sent to the Somme, in what became the deadliest battle on the entire Somme front for the AIF: Pozieres.

On August 7 and 8, 1916, when Norman and the 14th Australian Infantry Battalion had just reached the front line at Pozieres, they fought in appalling conditions and under constant shelling by German artillery and repulsed two counterattacks but at the cost of terrible losses and the following days, the battalion reinforced the trenches and built solid defense points protected by sections of Lewis Gun but still under enemy artillery fire and on August 13, the 14th Battalion, exhausted, was relieved by the 49th.

On August 14, 1916, Norman and the 14th Australian Infantry Battalion, after fierce fighting, arrived at Warloy-Baillon, a few kilometers from Pozieres and alternated between periods of rest and training then on August 17, they marched for La Vicogne where they remained in rest until August 19 then joined Pernois on August 20 for reorganization of the battalion and for tactical exercises then marched through Talmas, Vadencourt and joined Albert on August 26 and at 8:00 pm, joined the front line trenches at the Mouquet Farm and spent the day of August 27 consolidating their positions.

Unfortunately, it was the next day,on August 28, 1916, during an attack by the 14th Australian Infantry Battalion aimed at the capture of Mouquet Farm that Norman met his fate and was seriously wounded by a bullet in his left forearm and in the head and was immediately evacuated and admitted, unconscious, to the 3rd Casualty Clearing Station in Puchevillers, not far from Pozieres, suffering from gun shot wound head (perforating cranium) and died the next day, on August 29, 1916 at the age of 24 and was buried by the Reverend G.S Duncan.

Today, Norman John Mcleod rests in peace with his friends, comrades and brothers in arms at Puchevillers British Cemetery, Somme, and his grave bears the following inscription "My dearly loved only son, brother of Marion Law, sadly missed."
in Pozieres, 23,000 Australian soldiers were killed in action and 11,000 were killed in the fighting for Mouquet Farm.

Charles Bean would later say:
"The shelling at Pozières did not merely probe the character and nerve,it laid them stark naked as no other experience of the AIF ever did. Everywhere were blackened men, torn and whole,dead for days. Pozieres is more densely sown with Australian sacrifice than any other place on earth."

Norman, young, brave and determined to do your duty for your country, for the Australia that you have made proud of, you have responded with conviction to the call of duty and have worn the colors with pride on the soils of the north of the France for which you gave so much, until the last breath of your young life which was stopped in the fields of the Somme and for all that you have done for us, for my country, I would like, from the bottom of my heart express my respect and gratitude to you and all the Diggers, for Australia to whom we owe so much and with which we are proud to be united hand in hand in the most beautiful and strongest friendship that was born between our two countries, in camaraderie and mutual aid, in respect and courage, in sacrifice and the mud of the trenches, a friendship that brings us closer and unites us around the remembrance in which we will always stand proudly to honor the memory of all these young men,our heroes,our sons who gave their lives for us and who stood with honor and bravery in the trenches, on the battlefields of the great war in which each of them did their part and gave their all.Young and proud, they served side by side with conviction for noble causes and in this war which was to put an end to all wars, they gave their heart and their energy in every step forward under the weight of their bags and their rifles, under the weight of the mud sticking their boots.In blood and clay they lived side by side among the rats, their feet frozen by stagnant water which was sometimes more deadly than the enemy who awaited them, their fingers on the triggers of their machine guns which spit death at an implacable rate on waves of men who, one after the other were mown down by a hail of bullets and who fell every day on the battlefields which were nothing more than fields of death strewn with shell holes everywhere in which so much blood and tears were shed in a ground scarified by kilometers of barbed wire in which so much young men collapsed.In this hell on earth, alongside their comrades and their brothers in arms they remained strong and found the courage to move forward, they never lost hope and in each other, they found the strength to hold on, they fought like real lions with invincible determination and together, watching over each other, they climbed the wooden ladders, they went over the top and charged with confidence, with pride on the battlefield, they stayed together.In those moments which were for many the last of their young lives, they acted with exceptional bravery and guided their friends through the shells and bullets which rained around them, they showed the courage of a whole generation of men who marched towards their destinies with their heads held high in the face of death and dangers, very often without consideration for their own lives so that their comrades, so that we can live today and for that, the Somme, France will be forever grateful.These young men who had a life ahead of them gave their today for us so with respect, with love and gratitude, I would give every day of my life for them so that they are never forgotten and so that their lives, their voices, their courage and their sacrifices inspire us to create a better world in which they would have liked to live and to preserve the peace for which they fought and fell.In the Somme they found their last resting place but they will live forever.Thank you so much Norman,for everything.At the going down of the sun and in the morning,we will remember him,we will remember them.

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