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Soldier Profile: Norman Geoffrey Rosborough

Name: Norman Geoffrey Rosborough

  • aged 18 and 1 month when he joined the army

  • short fellow of 5ft 9inches

  • 63.5 kg

  • mole on abdomen

  • blue eyes, light brown hair

  • worked as a clerk

  • Presbyterian (religion)

  • his parents and a sister were also alive when he enlisted. Can’t find details of any living relatives.

  • Lived on property Rossdale on the Riverina Hwy via Thurgoona, Albury.

Enlisted: 10 September 1915 in Albury.
Norman was in the Albury 13th Battery.

Service Number: 7234

Rank: Gunner

Unit: 5th Australian Field Artillery Brigade

Service: Australian Army

Date of embarkation: 18 November 1915

Place of embarkation: Sydney

Ship embarked on: HMAT Persic A34

  • Proceeded to join M.E.F. [Mediterranean Expeditionary Force], Suez, 21.December 1915

  • Proceeded to join B.E.F. [British Expeditionary Force], Alexandria, 19 March 1916

  • Disembarked, Marseilles, 25 March 1916

Conflicts involved in: Western Front: Pozieres, Advance to the Hindenburg Line, Bullecourt, Menin Road,

Date of death: 23 July 1917

Place of death: Spoil Bank, Belgium

  • A shell killed Norman near Spoil Bank in Ypres during the Menin Road battle when he was 19

  • He was buried about 200 yards East of Chester Farm, 1 mile East of Voormezeele of Ypres France

  • His grave hasn’t been found.

  • His family placed a memorial death notice in the local paper with the words “His duty done”.

Cemetery or memorial details: Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres, Flanders, Belgium, Panel 7, Stone G

Source: AWM145 Roll of Honour cards, 1914-1918 War, Army

Roll title: 5 FAB [Field Artillery Brigade] (November 1915)

Medals included: Star Medal, British war Medal and the Victory Medal

  • These medals were received by his family.

  • Interestingly a metal recycling company in England found his memorial plaque in 1954.  

  • This is strange because his family apparently received it in 1922.

  • Was it sent back or lost for some reason, or were there two of them? We don’t know about where the plaque is now, but it’s amazing that it was discovered decades after the war.

The role of a gunner

The men were in a team of about thirty who controlled the 18 pounder gun. This gun was the principle Field Gun of the British Army in WW1. It was also called the Quick Firing gun, because it could fire lots of shells and cause lots of damage in a quick amount of time due to its 84mm of caliber and shell weight.

Duties included cleaning it, having ample ammunition, moving it from place to place and firing this weapon at the enemy front lines to help give cover and do some damage against the Germans.

The guns were located in gun pits that had good field fire and was hidden from the enemy, but they were very heavy, easily waterlogged and often got bogged.

Guns were transported by a team of 6 light draught horses and motorised vehicles.A driver was allocated to each two horse team and rode the left horse of each pair.The two wheeled ammunition limber was hooked up to the horses and the trail of the gun was hooked to the limber. Further to this, each gun had two additional ammunition limbers towed by their own team.


He probably joined the army for a sense of adventure, to protect his family, for a different experience, to serve his country and have his name written in history.He fought for his family, he fought for his town and he fought for his country. He fought to protect those he loved, in hope that they would have no part in this war.He was so young when he died, only a couple of years older than myself, never knowing if he would come back to his country, to his families arms.

I have visited his memorial gravestone in Albury and on it are the words “He died so that we could live”.