Norman Herbert CATHCART


CATHCART, Norman Herbert

Service Number: 11814
Enlisted: Not yet discovered
Last Rank: Corporal
Last Unit: 4th Field Artillery Brigade
Born: Horsham, Victoria, Australia, 4 July 1894
Home Town: Horsham, Wimmera, Victoria
Schooling: The Geelong College, Longerenong Agricultural College, Victoria, Australia
Occupation: Farmer
Died: Died Of Wound, Killed In Action, France, 3 November 1916, aged 22 years
Cemetery: Heilly Station Cemetery
Plot V, Row D, Grave 19 Headstone Inscription "I WILL NOT LEAVE YOU COMFORTLESS I WILL COME TO YOU", Heilly Station Cemetery, Mericourt-L'Abbe, Picardie, France, Warlencourt British Cemetery, Warlencourt-Eaucourt, Arras, Nord Pas de Calais, France
Memorials: Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Geelong College WW1 Roll of Honour
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World War 1 Service

28 Jan 1916: Involvement Gunner, SN 11814, 4th Field Artillery Brigade
28 Jan 1916: Embarked Gunner, SN 11814, 4th Field Artillery Brigade, HMAT Themistocles, Melbourne
3 Nov 1916: Involvement Corporal, SN 11814, 4th Field Artillery Brigade

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Biography contributed by Daryl Jones

CATHCART, Norman Herbert (1894-1916)

Born in 1894, the son of Herbert Balfour Cathcart and Emma Simpson nee Langlands, of Darlot Street, Horsham, Norman Herbert Cathcart was educated at Horsham State School, Ballarat College and Geelong College where he was enrolled on 11 February 1911. He left in December 1911.

He went on to graduate from Longerenong Agricultural College, where he obtained the Farm Manager’s Gold Medal for practical work, and at the time of his enlistment ( No 11814) in the AIF on 23 November 1915, was the dairy expert at Longerenong. He embarked with the 3rd Reinforcement Group on HMAT A32 Themistocles on 28 January 1916 for France, and served there as a corporal with 4 Field Artillery Brigade until he was mortally wounded, aged 22, and died on 3 November 1916 at Flers.

His school compatriot F E S ‘Bill’ Scott recorded his own (Scott’s) wounding in his diary on 9 November 1916, as well as Cathcart’s: ‘Wounded slightly. During the morning we had made trips to Flers in search of wood for a couple of dugouts but although it was plentiful enough it was rather hard work to get out the stuff we wanted. Consequently after ploughing through the mud there plenty of work when we got there & carrying the wood back through the mud we were rather tired & most of us went into the gunpits for a good spell before dinner. All this time Fritz had been sending over a fair quantity of iron but it was far enough away to attract no notice when all of a sudden something black passed across my eyes & I realized I had been hit. At first I thought my sight was gone but after a few seconds I got up & although the right eye was terribly painful I could see. I saw one of the others (Cathcart) who had been standing at the mouth of the pit lying back his face a mass of dirt & blood & one of his eyes hanging out. Well after being dressed we passed through a number of dressing stations & finally found ourselves on the train. After about 30 hours in the train we pulled up at Etratat & were taken to the Hotel Roche which is now a hospital. Etratat is situated on the coast about 20 miles from Le Havre. … Poor old Cathcart who was knocked with me died next day.’

Cathcart was buried at Heilly Station Cemetery, Mericourt-L’Abbe - Grave V.D.19.

The Horsham Times newspaper carried a report of his death:
‘The town and district were moved to profound sympathy on Tuesday morning when the news of the death from wounds of Gunner Norman Cathcart was received in Horsham. The deceased was the only son of Mr and Mrs H B Cathcart, and on that account his death is all the more severely felt. The first intimation that he had been wounded was sent in a cable by the Rev SA Beveridge, and in a measure this softened the effect of the sadder news which was subsequently broken to the stricken parents by the Rev Thos. Gray. Death occurred on November 3, at the clearing hospital behind the lines, from gunshot wounds in the face. The late Norman Cathcart, who was just 22 years of age, was a lad of considerable promise, and his parents had staked a great deal on his future in the event of his returning home from the field of carnage. He was a bright manly fellow, and was loved by all who knew him. His education, begun in the Horsham State School, was finished at the Ballarat College. For some time prior to his enlistment, which took place towards the end of 1915, he had been a student at the Longerenong Agricultural College, where he was held in the highest respect, and it had been intended that he should eventually settle on the land.

Since his departure from Australia he had written frequently of his experiences in the Army, and his letters were always full of a note of joy that he was able to do his share in the great fight for world liberty. Some of these were received on the day before his death was announced. The parents have been the recipients of numerous messages expressive of the deepest sympathy, and the flags on the various buildings in the town have been flown at half-mast as a tribute of respect to the gallant young soldier’s memory. The monthly meeting of the Hospital Committee on Tuesday was adjourned for 24 hours as a mark of feeling for the father, who is a member of the committee. The president, Mr J McCann, in moving the adjournment, said: 'You have all heard of the affliction that has befallen our friend, Mr Cathcart, in the loss of his son, Norman. As a mark of sympathy I purpose moving that this meeting adjourn till this time tomorrow; also that the secretary be instructed to write and tender our heartfelt sym-pathy to Mr and Mrs Cathcart and family in their bereavement. Mr Cathcart occupied the chair longer than any other president, he having been president from 1906 to 1910. Not only that – he has always taken the keenest interest in the welfare of the institution.” Mr C Bennison seconded the motion in suitable words, and it was carried in reverent silence. ‘

Source : The Geelong College -