Norman Vivian Gladstone Kerby

June 24, 2015

KERBY, Norman Vivian Gladstone- – – – SPC ?

DoB:– – 1895, Ballarat, VIC

Father:- – James Macklan Kerby

Mother:- – Margaret Anne, nee Brennan

The College Annual of 1916-1917 featured a small paragraph about Private Kerby (sometimes spelled Kirby):

-‘-¦ Pte Norman V G Kerby, killed in action, was nineteen years of age, a brother of Capt E T Kerby (wounded) (not an SPC boy), and son of Mr J M Kerby, Bourke Street, well known in mining circles in Ballarat. He was educated at St Patrick’s College, Ballarat, and later was in the employ of Noyes Bros. Electricians. He was a member of the 60th Regiment, and from boyhood was very enthusiastic in military work, and one of the first to enlist-¦’

Service No:- 115

Rank:- – Private

Unit:- – 7th Battalion

Norman Kerby was 19 years old when he enlisted for service on 17 August 1914. He was a single man, five feet eight inches tall, with a sallow complexion, brown eyes and brown hair. He was with the first contingent of AIF troops who left Australia aboard the Hororata in October of that year, and after undergoing training in Egypt, proceeded to Gallipoli where he landed on 25 April, 1915.

Private Kerby was killed in action sometime between 25 April and 2 May 1915. His body was never found. He is commemorated on the Australian Memorial at Lone Pine. This memorial commemorates the 3268 Australians and 456 New Zealanders who have no known grave, and the 960 Australians and 252 New Zealanders who were buried at sea after evacuation and died through wounds or disease.

Norman Kerby was one of five brothers who enlisted for service. His brother Macklam James Martin Kerby was killed in France in 1916, aged 30 years, but his other three brothers returned from the war. One of these brothers, (Major) Edwin Thomas John Martin Kerby was at Gallipoli with Norman. Edwin was attached to the 8th Battalion, and despite being severely wounded by shrapnel in his lung, he survived the war.

The confusion around dates and lack of information delivered to anxious families waiting for news of their loved one is reflected in the letter Norman’s mother wrote to the war records office -“

‘Dear Sir,

Enclosed you will find my late dear son’s address. He forwarded it in his last letter to me which I received two months after his death. He furthermore wrote that his address would find him anywhere no matter where. I am sorry to know it will never find him again -¦ I would if I could get any of his clothes, anything that would not be useful [to the war effort]. I value them just because they were his and it seems such a dreadful time to wait before we can hear anything. I would like to know who was near him when he died. Life is full of bitterness.

I am,

Yours Gratefully,

Anne Kerby’.

There was no record to indicate if Norman’s mother received any of his belongings.