Private Bert Norman, full name Herbert Benjamin Norman, was born 1895 in Worcester, and he is always referred to as Bert. His parents were Herbert and Emily Norman. His father was an Iron Moulder and his mother is given as a Gloveress living at 4, Vincent Road, Worcester in 1901. Between 1901 and 1911 the family moved to Rugby and were now residing at 50 Abbey Street Rugby. Bert’s father was now working for the B.T.H. Works. Bert attended Eastlands Council School and became Captain of the school football team and subsequently captain of the Old Eastlands Boys’ Club. On leaving school he was apprenticed to the moulding at B.T.H.Works.
He enlisted 25th August 1914 and was with the Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry. He was killed as a result of an explosion of a German mine. In a letter to his father Capt. A. Ponsonby explained the circumstances of how Bert had died.
“It is with the greatest regret that I have to write and tell you that your son met his death in the explosion of a mine crater on the 25th, and was buried by a Church on England chaplain in a very nice cemetery, which contains the bodies of many soldiers who have died in the neighbourhood.
He was the sentry on duty, when at about 4.30 in the morning, there was a sudden eruption of the ground, and a large portion on earth completely covered him, but owing to the altered formation of the ground he and two other men could not be found for a long time. In any case death was absolutely instantaneous owing to the great weight of earth that fell on him. I am so dreadfully sorry it should have happened to him, as we all looked upon him as an excellent young soldier and a most cheerful companion.
I hope I may be permitted to offer to you and the other members of your family my deepest sympathy and that of the members of C Company in your most terrible bereavement. May it be some slight comfort to you to know that he died fighting for his country, and that he is regretted by all of us, his comrades and friends.”
Bert’s last letter home states that the front of the trench had been blown in – an incident that had made him feel rather nervous – and is evident he met his death a few days later by a similar mishap. He is buried in the Guards cemetery, Windy Corner, Cuinchy, France.
August 25th 1915 the day he was killed was the anniversary of his enlistment, he was 20 years old.
Private Bert. Norman. Service No. 11901
Regiment Oxford and Bucks Infantry
Grave/Memorial Reference ll. E. 14
Cemetery/Memorial Guards Cemetery Windy Corner Cuinchy
RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM