Norman David LEWIS


LEWIS, Norman David

Service Number: VX40377
Enlisted: 24 June 1940
Last Rank: Corporal
Last Unit: 2nd/22nd Infantry Battalion
Born: Carlton, Victoria, Australia, 4 October 1917
Home Town: Carlton, Melbourne, Victoria
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Radio Mechanic
Died: Presumed Killed in Action, Rabaul, New Britain, Bismarck Archipelago, New Guinea, 23 January 1942, aged 24 years
Cemetery: No known grave - "Known Unto God"
Memorials: Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Rabaul Memorial
Show Relationships

World War 2 Service

24 Jun 1940: Enlisted Private
24 Jun 1940: Enlisted Australian Military Forces (Army WW2), Corporal, SN VX40377, 2nd/22nd Infantry Battalion
23 Jun 1942: Involvement Corporal, SN VX40377, 2nd/22nd Infantry Battalion

Help us honour Norman David Lewis's service by contributing information, stories, and images so that they can be preserved for future generations.

Biography contributed by Robert Kearney

Norman was a member of the 2/22nd Infantry Battalion, part of the 23rd Brigade, 8th Division raised on 1 July, 1940. His unit (part of Lark Force) was decimated by the Japanese during an attack on Rabaul where the odds of 5000 invaders to 1400 defenders were very much in favour of the Japanese. Following fierce fighting, during which Norman was killed (January 23, 1942), other members of the unit were ordered to disband with an “every man for himself” order from the Lark Force Commander, Colonel Jon Scanlan. Around 400 members of Lark Force managed to return to Australia, 300 of which were members of the 2/22nd. Approximately 160 Australians captured by the Japanese while trying to escape were massacred at Tol Plantation and another 836 were interned as POWs. On June 22 1942, a group of Australian prisoners and European civilians were loaded aboard the Montevideo Maru to be transported to Hanan Island. The ship was sunk on 1 July by the submarine USS Sturgeon off the Philippines, killing all 1053 prisoners and civilian internees. The Australian officers and a small number of civilians who were left behind at Rabaul were subsequently shipped to Japan aboard the Natuno Maru, where they remained until liberated during September 1945.  Norman could probably considered himself lucky to have died in action rather than having to face the subsequent alternatives. - Courtesy of Stephen Lewis