ABBOTT, Norman

Service Number: 3263
Enlisted: 20 March 1917, Sydney, New South Wales
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 33rd Infantry Battalion
Born: Balmain, New South Wales, Australia, 13 December 1887
Home Town: Sydney, City of Sydney, New South Wales
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Labourer
Died: KIA (drowned - result of enemy action), At Sea, Hospital Ship Warilda, United Kingdom, 3 August 1918, aged 30 years
Cemetery: No known grave - "Known Unto God"
Hollybrook Memorial, Southampton, England
Memorials: Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Hollybrook Memorial, Southampton
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World War 1 Service

20 Mar 1917: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 3263, Sydney, New South Wales
16 Jul 1917: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 3263, 33rd Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
16 Jul 1917: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, SN 3263, 33rd Infantry Battalion, HMAT Port Melbourne, Sydney

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

Biography contributed by Greg Sharon

Norman was a labourer from Darlinghurst when he joined the A.I.F.  He arrived in England on the 16th of September 1917 and went into a training camp.  He then had a colourful period with authority both in England and in his early days in France.

He was eventually taken on strength of the 33rd Bn on the 2nd of March 1918.  Norman was gassed in action in the area of Villers-Bretonneux on the 17/4/18 and returned to the front at Rouelles on the 8th of June.  He was then wounded in action on 25/7/18 with a gunshot wound to a finger and a decision was made to evacuate him to England.   Whilst in transit aboard the HMAT Warilda Norman became a casualty when the ship was sunk in the English Channel on the 3rd of August 1918.  She was transporting wounded soldiers from France to England when she was torpedoed by UC-49, even though she was flying the Red Cross indicating a hospital ship.  It was claimed by the Germans that she was carrying arms.  HMAT Warilda sank in 2 hours with the loss of 123 souls from the 801 on board. 

Norman was posthumously awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. His widow subsequently received a Memorial Scroll, a Memorial plaque and the pamphlet “Where the Australians Rest”.




Biography contributed by Evan Evans

The summary below was completed by Cathy Sedgwick – Facebook “WW1 Australian War Graves in England/UK/Scotland/Ireland

Died on this date – 3rd August…… Private Norman Abbott was born at Balmain, Sydney, New South Wales in 1887.

A warrant was issued by Water Police Bench in Sydney in December 1902 for Norman Cecil Abbot, aged 15. Norman Cecil Abbott was sent to Parramatta Gaol on 25th July, 1905 for stealing & assault on several occasions.

Norman Cecil Abbott married Ida Dorothy Smith in Sydney, NSW in 1917.

Norman Abbott enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force (A.I.F.) on 20th March, 1917 as a 29 year old, married, Labourer from East Sydney, NSW.

Private Norman Abbott embarked from Sydney, New South Wales on HMAT Port Melbourne (A16) on 16th July, 1917 with the 33rd Infantry Battalion, 8th Reinforcements & disembarked at Liverpool, England on 16th September, 1917. He was marched into 9th Training Battalion at Durrington, Wiltshire, England on 16th September, 1917 from Australia.

A District Court Martial was held at Hurdcott, Wiltshire on 16th November, 1917 where Private Norman Abbott was charged with “Acting as sentinel leaving his post before he was properly relieved” at Fovant, Wiltshire, England on 2nd November, 1917. He was arrested on 2nd November, 1917 & pled not guilty. Finding – Guilty. Sentence – to undergo Detention for 1 day on 16th November, 1917. Period under charge – 14 days. Private Abbott forfeited a total of 15 days’ pay.

Private Abbott was written up twice while posted at Fovant, Wiltshire –
1. Absent without leave from 08.30 to 13.20 hrs on 28th November, 1917 & “Neglecting to obey an order given personally by his superior officer in the execution of his office in that he when ordered to go on parade by Lt. Payne did not do so.” He was awarded 7 days Field Punishment No. 2.
2. On 6th December, 1917 “Neglecting to obey a Standing Order in that he whilst undergoing F./ P. No. 2 was found drinking in the Canteen.” He was awarded 1 day Field Punishment No. 2.

Private Abbott was sent sick to Hurdcott Hospital, Wiltshire on 8th December, 1917 with Mumps & was discharged on 29th December, 1917. He proceeded overseas to France on 18th February, 1918 & joined 33rd Battalion in the Field on 26th February, 1918.
Private Norman Abbott was wounded in action (gassed) on 17th April, 1918 at Villers Bretonneux. He was admitted to Field Ambulance then transferred to Casualty Clearing Station before being admitted to 3rd General Hospital at Le Treport on 20th April, 1918. Private Abbott was transferred to Convalescent Depot on 11th May, 1918 then admitted to 1st Australian Convalescent Depot at Havre, France on 12th May, 1918.

Private Abbott was written up for being in town without a pass whilst on Active Service on 29th May, 1918 He was also reported absent until apprehended by the Military Police. Private Abbott was AWL from 31st May until 2nd June & awarded 20 days Field Punishment No. 2 & forfeited a total of 23 days’ pay.
Private Abbott rejoined 33rd Battalion in the Field on 9th June, 1918. He was written up for being AWL again from 9 am on 4th July, 1918 until apprehended by Military Police in the vicinity of Berteaucourt at 9 am on 5th July, 1918. He was awarded 7 days Field Punishment No. 2 by C. O. 33rd Battalion & forfeited 9 days’ pay.

Private Norman Abbott was wounded in action (2nd occasion) on 25th July, 1918. He was admitted to 10th Australian Field Ambulance on 25th July, 1918 with G.S.W. (gunshot wound/s) fractured finger the transferred to Casualty Clearing Station then admitted to Hospital at Le Treport on 27th July, 1918. Private Abbott was transferred to Hospital Ship Warilda for England on 2nd August, 1918.

Private Norman Abbott was reported missing believed drowned at Sea from Ambulance Transport on 3rd August, 1918.

A Court of Enquiry was held at Headquarters London on 26th September, 1918. Private Norman Abbott who was previously reported missing, believed drowned was now reported as Died at Sea, as a result of enemy action in the torpedoing & sinking of H.M.A.T. Warilda on 3rd August, 1918. 113 patients, one nurse, two RAMC staff and seven crew died in the sinking. It is believed that 15 Australian Soldiers were drowned.
Private Norman Abbott is commemorated on the Hollybrook Memorial, Southampton, Hampshire, England as he has no grave. His death is acknowledged by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

(The above is a summary of my research. The full research can be found by following the link below)