25 – more on WW1 soldier Norman Whitfield

Posted originally on February 17, 2015 by Neil

This series of posts is the most comprehensive I have done on family history. I am doing them backwards here so that in due course they will appear sequentially.

My father’s cousin, as you may recall. In my last post about him I wrote:

Norman Whitfield went on to win the Military Cross and bar; I also note 17 May 1917 “WOLLONGONG, Wednesday. Captain Geo. Walklate, who won the Military Cross at the Somme, arrived home last night and was accorded a civic reception in the Town Hall.” See Illawarra Volunteers.

Norman Whitfield had a brother, Thomas Harold Whitfield, also in that New Guinea expedition? Or is that an error?

See also Illawarra Boys in the AN-MEF – first action of WW1 – New Guinea. See Norman Whitfield’s paperwork on Discovering Anzacs: he seems to be the same age as that Thomas. The family tree lists as siblings: Stanley Thomas Whitfield (b. 1888), Elsie Sophia W (b. 1890), Norman Harold W (b. 1896) and Keith Frederick W (b. 1902). No Thomas Harold.

The matter of Thomas Harold Whitfield was taken up by Kerrie Anne Christian of the Bulli History site Black Diamonds, whose post “Illawarra Boys in the AN-MEF…” I referred to last time. It does seem clear that Thomas Harold and Norman Harold are one and the same – for starters they share the same number, 684.


Under the name of Thomas Harold we are told he is 20 as at 11 August 1914. So he lied about his age there; maybe also that is the reason for calling himself Thomas! He was actually 17.  In Norman Harold Whitfield’s paperwork is a note from his mum:


So maybe that set things right. Later on the occasion of Norman’s rather bizarre and untimely death in 1950, the Illawarra Mercury reported:


During World War 2 he became Director-General of recruiting. Broken Hill’s Barrier Miner carried a profile of him in 1941.


He had been in that cause even before the war, as this picture from 1938 shows.


So there he is seated at the table in the photo on the left. Finally, I might just mention a connection with Bulli that he probably would rather have forgotten…


Illawarra Mercury 21 June 1929

Some items of interest about Norman Harold Whitfield’s connection with the Australian People’s Party are 6 July 1929 and 18 September 1929. He was its president. He was also in 1935 Captain of The Lakes Golf Club in Sydney.

In response:

Neil, it was wonderful to assist in your uncovering more information of Norman. He, like a number of Wollongong boys, was quick to enlist in WW1 in August 1914. Initially serving with the AN & MEF in New Guinea, before he re-enlisted in 1915, to serve in other theatres, demonstrating leadership and bravery, so rising through the ranks. You must be very proud of him. Kerrie Anne Christian. President Black Diamond Heritage Centre Bulli & Illawarra Family History Group.