David Keith Norrish

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David Keith Norrish

Birthdate:
Birthplace: 'Sunnyside Farm', Broomehill, Western Australia, Australia
Death: May 02, 2016 (95)
Bentley, Perth, Western Australia, Australia
Place of Burial: Perth, Western Aiustralia, Australia
Immediate Family:

Husband of Private
Father of Private; Private and Private

Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

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About David Keith Norrish

http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/80023468 Norrish, David Keith (IWM interview) Catalogue number 20997 Production date 2000 Subject period Second World War Alternative Names object category: IWM interview Creator IWM (Production company) Bannister, John (recorder) Norrish, David Keith (interviewee/speaker) Category sound © IWM

Object description

Australian private and NCO served with 2/26th Bn Australian Imperial Forces in Australia, Palestine, Egypt, Lebanon, and New Guinea, 1941-1943; officer served with Australian Imperial Forces in Australia, 1943-1944; served with 2/26th Bn Australian Imperial Forces in New Guinea, 1944-1945

Content description

REEL 1 Background in Broomehill and Cranbrook, Australia, 1920- 1941: details of name and family; financial situation; leisure activities and education; memories of home life; father and siblings; interest in cycling and story of illness following Redback spider bite; knowledge of events in Europe during 1930s; memories of childhood including experience of shooting; service of father during First World War and reaction of parents to his joining-up. Aspects of period as private and NCO with 2/16th Bn Australian Imperial Forces in Australia, 1941: advice from father and health problems during training; promotion and reasons for declining offer of commission; reactions to outbreak of war and Munich Agreement; motivation for joining army; process of joining at Mt Barker and wait for call-up; send-offs for troops in town hall; reactions to leaving home and active service including memories of father and ANZAC Day; local recruiting campaigns. REEL 2 Continues: news of posting overseas; pattern of training; details of convalescence including meeting future wife; mail sent to and received from wife while overseas; story of bullet striking steel mirror in breast pocket; story of train journey to Fremantle. Aspects of period as voyage from Australia to Egypt, 1941: boarding of RMS Aquitania; reactions of troops upon embarkation; sentry duties; arrival at Bombay; period at Poona; impressions of Bombay including British attitude to civilians; contact with civilians at cinema in Poona; activities of the Black Watch; own activities; accommodation; issue of meals including problems with kite hawks; story of funeral; rations; uniform; leisure activities; lectures; relationship with and impressions of civilians; voyage to Egypt. Aspects of period as NCO with 2/16th Bn Australian Imperial Forces in Middle East, 1941: train journey north; pattern of training; posting in B Company with brother; impressions of civilians including care taken of kit and rifle; situation in Middle East; preparations for service in Greece; description of Mersa Matruh; role of unit; announcement of rations shortage; description of supply dump; rations gained during visit to supply dump. REEL 3 Continues: story of arrest at supply dump; relationship with Military Police; situation in North Africa and accommodation outside Haifa including latrines built by Jewish civilians. Aspects of operations as NCO with 2/16th Bn Australian Imperial Forces in Lebanon, 1941: advance into Lebanon and first sight of dead bodies; description of Junkers Ju-87 Stuka air raids at Mersa Matruh; comradeship in battalion; description of Litabi River outside Tyre including patrols before crossing; details of river crossing and opposition faced; question of fear while in action; situation in Lebanon and Syria; role after fighting in El Mina; description of Vichy French forces and defences; details of action in at Sidon including firing at two French soldiers and return journey with message to Major Fox; story of sniper in fig tree used for cover; earlier belief that fighting would not occur. REEL 4 Continues: capture of 75lb gun and POWs; story of Vichy French captured during a patrol; details of advance to Beirut; contact with Free French; pride in defeat of French Foreign Legion troops; opinion of Vichy France and forces including problems faced at Litani River; details of air activity during advance to Sidon; artillery barrage before crossing of Litani River; approach to and crossing of Litani River including opposition faced and role as platoon runner; story of being hit with grenade; reaction to casualties; opinion of campaign's organisation; French defences on Litani River; opinion of help received from brother, Norman; opinion of reinforcements sent during campaign; story of evading machine-gun fire while taking a message; feelings of being looked after on battlefield. REEL 5 Continues: reiteration of opinion of help received from brother, Norman; story of later being left behind in jungle; religion and opinion of padres; discussion of reactions while under stress; story of visit to spiritualist minister cousin; further discussion of reactions while under stress; wounding during evasion of machine-gun fire and posting as sniper; discussion of period as sniper including choices made over targets and previous experience with guns; discussion of comradeship and morale during Syrian campaign; description of and situation in area; sighting of Vichy French troops; discussions with Bob Jones over range; shooting of Vichy French mortar officer; fire received from Vichy French mortar; shooting of mortar operators; movement of mortar and continuation of fire; withdrawal from position including story of wounding and reaction; situation on following morning; method of clearing an area; story of shooting Vichy French soldier through buttocks. REEL 6 Continues: reactions of wounded Vichy French soldier; description of fire from Vichy French 6” gun; cover taken in trench with dead Senegalese soldier including subsequent jokes from comrades and mental effects; story of fellow patient and snake during wait for evacuation; treatment of POWs by both sides; activities during posting in Beirut including practice firing of Thompson sub-machine gun; role in El Mina; Christmas 1941; reflections on Syrian campaign including opinion of Charles De Gaulle; situation in North Africa; knowledge of posting to Australia; knowledge of Japanese; contact with British troops. Aspects of period as NCO with 2/16th Bn Australian Imperial Forces in Australia, 3/1942-6/1942: role and exercises in Australia; story of machine-gunners met during voyage from Egypt to Australia; activities during leave. REEL 7 Continues: conversations with family including service of cousin with 2/2nd Commando Squadron in Timor; outlook on future; question of fearing a Japanese invasion; knowledge of Japanese including Australian propaganda; relationship with civilians; accommodation in Adelaide; pattern of training in Adelaide and Brisbane; discussion of General Gordon Bennett's activities in Singapore; reaction to posting in Australia; opinion of American troops and General MacArthur; reaction to coming action against Japanese; problems during following campaign. Aspects of operations as NCO with 2/26th Bn Australian Imperial Forces in New Guinea, 1942: arrival in Port Moresby; conditions during journey inland; pattern of training and lectures; importance of Port Moresby and battalion; opinion of Japanese superiority and reactions to Australian success; activities and opinion of 39th Australian Battalion; role planned for 2/16th Battalion on Kokoda Track; discussion of Kokoda Track's name and influence of Americans; details of march along Kokoda Track; weapons and ammunition carried. REEL 8 Continues: description of march up staircase built by Pioneer Platoon; morale; climate; clothing and equipment carried; shortage of rations on arrival at Lake Myola; night stops on Kokoda Track including sleeping arrangements; further details of march; description of jungle; description of attack involved in at Abuari including story of first contact with a Japanese soldier; reactions to situation; details of period at Lake Myola including description of air drops; maintenance of morale; description of Japanese attacks at Eora Creek including Australian response and scenes in flashes of Thompson sub-machine gun; opinion of Japanese weapons and equipment; calls from Japanese troops and response; ambushes of Japanese troops; movement of patrols; comparison and opinion of Vichy French and Japanese troops; reason for not taking POWs and details of hand to hand fighting; question of respect for Japanese troops; opinion of Australian officers including what makes a good officer; importance of holding fire; opinion of machine-guns; situation on Kokoda Track; tactics employed. REEL 9 Continues: details of attack made at Abuari and subsequent withdrawal including use of phosphorescent moss; cessation of withdrawal and details of ambush set-up on track; departure of section without Norrish; crossing of creek; reunion with section including rations; description of attack from Japanese including positions dug and use of grenades; activities after meeting-up with brigadier and 2/27th Battalion; description of advance through Japanese lines; activities before battle; reactions following battle and to loss of friends; details of and attitude to fighting withdrawal; relationship between General MacArthur and General Blamey; opinion of General Blamey's leadership; reactions to coming under fire and after being wounded including description of wounds; reaction to receiving sympathy; evacuation from battle; medical treatment. REEL 10 Continues: description of being shot including reactions; story of wounded Japanese soldier; argument with platoon commander following decision to withdraw. Aspects of journey to hospital, 1942: story of messages from cousin; condition at first aid post; morale; opinion of unit's withdrawal; details of march to hospital including crossing of streams and story of patient with shattered feet; physical and mental state including visit from Craig Farrell and sleeping arrangements; help received from civilian including relationship with civilians. Aspects of hospitalisation in New Guinea and Australia, 1942-1943: scenes on arrival in operating tent; preparation for operation; treatment received after regaining consciousness; period on ward and return to Australia; details of Salvation Army posts on Kokoda Track; attitude to being wounded; hospitalisation with dengue fever and visit from comrades; process of returning to unit. Aspects of period as NCO with 2/16th Bn Australian Imperial Forces in Australia, 1943: fitness training; background to commission and officer training; reason for nearly leaving training. REEL 11 Continues: events in New Guinea after wounding including scenes during evacuation; discussion of campaign including political situation and General Blamey's running rabbit comment; discussion of Brigadier Potts's and American involvement in Kokoda Track campaign; opinion of campaign. Aspects of hospitalisation in Australia, 1943: physical state and reception on arrival in hospital; relationship with and opinion of Volunteer Aid Detachments; leave; life for civilians during war including work with Volunteer Service Detachment; feelings on return to unit including thoughts about future after service. REEL 12 Continues: relationship with family during leave. Aspects of period as officer with Australian Imperial Forces in Australia, 1943-1944: situation on return; officer training; posting to Canungra; changes made to and details of jungle warfare course; reasons for troops leaving course; description of bayonet training; results of training; rank; story of almost leaving officer training; football; background to commission. Aspects of period as officer with 2/2nd Bn Australian Imperial Forces in New Guinea, 1944-1945: reaction to return to New Guinea; role and opinion of campaign. REEL 13 Continues: war history of 2/2nd Battalion; discussion of battalion's role in New Guinea; activities with advance party; relief of 19th Brigade; problems with tidal rivers; waterproofing of Jeeps; crossing of rivers by Jeep; travelling on Jeep bonnet as Bren gunner including reason for doing so and story of nearly driving over mine; posting with machine-gun platoon; details of Japanese positions including attacks on Jack's Knoll; transport and use of Vickers guns at Jack's Knoll; story of Japanese machine gunner; reaction to Japanese attitude; contact with Japanese on patrols; rest periods on coast; memories of Lieutenant Albert Chowne VC; background to gaining command of Albert Chowne's platoon; removal from line with swelling of head. REEL 14 Continues: story of evacuation in Douglas DC-3; medical treatment; diagnosis of hepatitis; period in Laye; reason for posting to Brisbane. Aspects of period as officer with Australian Imperial Forces in Australia, 1945: leave including news of war's end; attempts to gain discharge including hospitalisation and start of journey to New Guinea; story of gaining move to Western Australia; process of gaining discharge; reactions to end of war and return to civilian life; marriage, 5/1944. Aspects of period as civilian in Australia from 1945: civilian work including career change brought about by physical effects of war; settling into civilian life; question of forgetting war experiences; reflections on war service.

Associated people and organisations

Australian Army, Bn 2/16 Norrish, David Keith Norrish, Norman Bennett, Henry Gordon Farrell, Craig Australian Army, Bn 2/2 Associated places

AU EG in PI IN & Bombay IN & Poona EG & Mersa Matruh PG PI & Haifa LB PG & Port Moresby LB & Beirut AU & Broomehill, Western Australia AU & Cranbrook, Western Australia AU & Mt Barker, Western Australia AU & Adelaide, South Australia AU & Brisbane, Queensland AU & Canungra, Queensland LB & Tyre LB & El Mina LB & Sidon PG & Kokoda Track PG & Abuari PG & Eora Creek PG & Jack's Knoll PG & Laye

Keith NORRISH Funeral notice

NORRISH: A Funeral Service for the late Mr David Keith (Keith) Norrish of Bentley will be held at the Norfolk Crematorium Chapel at the KARRAKATTA Cemetery.

Time/date to be advised. In the care of: 11010 Great Eastern Hwy SAWYERS VALLEY 9295 0885 Published in The West Australian on May 6, 2016

Keith NORRISH Funeral notice

NORRISH: The Funeral of the late Mr David Keith (Keith) Norrish of Bentley will assemble at the main entrance of the Karrakatta Cemetery, Railway Road, Karrakatta on THURSDAY afternoon (12.05.2016) at 1.30pm and will then proceed to the Norfolk Crematorium Chapel.

In the care of: 11010 Great Eastern Hwy SAWYERS VALLEY 9295 0885 Published in The West Australian on May 10, 2016

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David Keith Norrish's Timeline

1920
August 27, 1920
'Sunnyside Farm', Broomehill, Western Australia, Australia
2016
May 2, 2016
Age 95
Bentley, Perth, Western Australia, Australia
May 12, 2016
Age 95
Cremation Karrakatta Cemetery Ashes requested and taken, Perth, Western Aiustralia, Australia