World War I Honours and Awards Website

Captain E Lloyd Davies MC - Buckingham Palace   

Award at Buckingham Palace
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Norman Gordon RAE MC

RAE

Date of birth3 May 1886
PlaceRochester, Victoria, Australia
ParentsMichael and Mary (nee Campbell) Rae
Date of death26 December 1977
PlaceFrankston, Victoria, Australia
Age91
Scotch Year(s)1901 to 1903

Service record and post-war life

Norman Rae was a member of Scotch's 1903 1st football team. He was a 28-year-old farmer when he enlisted at Broadmeadows on 20 August 1914. In a 1919 letter in his service file (reproduced below), his mother claimed that Norman was a Lieutenant in the 4th Light Horse Militia Regiment before the war, that he brought a contingent of men from his home town Rochester to Melbourne at the outbreak of war and that he was so keen to be accepted that he enlisted as a Private, but was taken on as a Sergeant. Other documents in his file suggest that due to his pre-war experience in cadets and the militia Norman was indeed appointed a Sergeant in the 4th Light Horse Regiment of the AIF. He embarked with it in October 1914, and left Suez for Gallipoli on 20 May. While there Norman clearly performed well, for he was promoted to 2nd Lieutenant on 20 July, Lieutenant on 15 October and became Acting Adjutant to the regiment on 19 October.

He returned to Egypt on 27 December and on 28 January 1916 was made a Temporary Captain. Norman remained with his regiment in Egypt and on the last day of August 1916 was hospitalised with gastritis. He became so ill that in October he was evacuated to England. He rejoined the Regiment in Egypt in December. In May 1917 Norman was promoted to Captain and given command of C Squadron. He did a remarkable job in the Battle of Beersheba on 31 October 1917. The citation for the Military Cross he earned there said that ‘During the regiment’s mounted attack on the hostile trenches, he single-handed captured over 60 prisoners, and set a fine example to his men under extremely heavy rifle and machine-gun fire.’

In November 1917 Norman was awarded the Military Cross. At about this time he was variously Acting Adjutant, Temporary Major and acting commander of A Squadron. Not surprisingly, in February 1918 he was given three weeks’ leave in the United Kingdom. In May 1918 Norman returned to Egypt and assumed command of A Squadron. He was detached to Brigade HQ in October. He was hospitalised with colitis for two weeks in November 1918. Norman spent some of 1919 on leave in England and late that year embarked for Australia, being demobilised on 8 November 1919. His service file contains a 1957 letter explaining that his MC had been lost in a fire and inquiring about obtaining a replacement.

Norman returned to farming in Victoria and then New South Wales. By 1937 he lived at the The Overflow, Nymagee, New South Wales. The famous property gave its name to Clancy of The Overflow by Banjo Paterson. Norman was a shire councillor for 10 years. In 1958 he moved to Seaford, in Victoria, where he remained until his death at Frankston in 1977. He had married Margaret Harris (d. 1978) in 1921, and their son Arnold (1927-2012) boarded at Scotch from 1936 to 1946.

Photographs and Documents:

raeNG

Letter from Norman’s mother applying for a badge and mentioning his enthusiasm.

raeNG

Recommendation for Norman Rae’s Military Cross.

raeNG

Citation for Norman Rae’s Military Cross.

raeNG

Captain Norman Rae is sitting at far left in this photograph of officers of the 4th Light Horse Regiment. It is dated ‘c. 1918’ and comes from the album of Sergeant Maifred Lazarus, who wrote on the back: ‘Some of our officers. Damn good sports.’ All four officers survived the war.

raeNG

A fine portrait of Captain Norman Rae, in Tripoli, Lebanon, dated about December 1918

raeNG

A 1919 assessment of Norman as an able and knowledgeable officer.

raeNG

Norman Rae writes asking for a replacement MC.

Sources:

  1. Australian War Memorial – Honours and Awards
  2. Mishura Scotch Database
  3. National Archives of Australia – B2455, RAE NORMAN GORDON
  4. Scotch Collegian 1918
  5. The AIF Project - https://www.aif.adfa.edu.au/showPerson?pid=248751

Page last updated: 11 November 2015