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Norman Russell Withiel Thomas

Full length portrait of Norman Russell Withiel Thomas. Image kindly provided by Mike Thomas (October 2020).

Full length portrait of Norman Russell Withiel Thomas. Image kindly provided by Mike Thomas (October …

No Known Copyright Restrictions AWMM


  • Title
  • Forenames
    Norman Russell Withiel AWMM
  • Surname
    Thomas AWMM
  • Ingoa
  • Also known as
  • Service number
    WWI 20940 AWMM
  • Gender
    Male AWMM
  • Iwi
  • Hapū
  • Waka
  • Rohe
  • Religion

Civilian life

About birth

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  • Birth
    17 March 1891 AWMM
  • Date of birth
  • Place of birth
  • Birth notes
  • Address before enlistment
    WW1 Unknown AWMM 72 Mountain Road, Epsom, Auckland, New Zealand AWMM
  • Post war occupation
  • Next of kin on embarkation
    WW1 Professor A.P.W. Thomas (father), Mountain Road, Epsom, Auckland, New Zealand AWMM
  • Relationship status
    Pre 5 April 1917 AWMM Single AWMM


Wars and conflicts

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  • War
  • Campaign
  • Armed force / branch
    Army AWMM
  • Service number
    WWI 20940 AWMM
  • Military service
    New Zealand Volunteer Forces 1902 - 1916 AWMM
  • Promotions/ Postings/ Transfers

Training and Enlistment

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  • Military training
  • Branch Trade Proficiency
  • Enlistment
    WW1 Unknown AWMM
    Age 25 AWMM
    Law Clerk/Civilian AWMM
  • Occupation before enlistment
  • Age on enlistment


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Prisoner of war

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  • Capture details
  • Days interned
  • Liberation date
  • Liberation Repatriation
  • POW liberation details
  • POW serial number

Medical history

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  • Medical notes
    • Height, Unknown Period AWMM
      6 feet AWMM
    • Complexion, Unknown Period AWMM
      Pale AWMM
    • Eye colour, Unknown Period AWMM
      Grey AWMM
    • Hair colour, Unknown Period AWMM
      Dark AWMM
    • Hospital Diseases , Wounds, WWI AWMM
      * 27-28 December 1918 :Reported as a 'Battle Casualty' with 'Tonsillitis caused by gas poisoning". Admitted to No. 1 NZGH AWMM

Last known rank

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  • Last rank

Biographical information

Biographical information

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  • Periods of Service

    * In New Zealand : 1 year and 34 days

    * Overseas : 2 years and 181 days

    * Total Service : 3 years and 215 days

    *Date commenced duty: 1 May 1916

    *Date finally discharged : 1 December 1919

    Movements during WWI:

    11 June 1917: Posted to the Auckland Regiment

    12 July 1917: Proceed to France

    14 August 1917: Joined Battalion and posted to 16th Company ( the 16th is Waikato Company)

    5 April 1918: joined 2nd Battalion, Auckland Infantry Regiment

    17 May 1918: detached to School of Instruction

    8 June 1918: rejoined Battalion

    9 August 1918: detached to Headquarters NZ Division

    24 November 1918: rejoined Battalion

    27/28 December 1918: Battle Casualty

    3 December 1918: leave to U.K.

    23 December 1918: rejoined Battalion

    18 January 1919: Detached to Headquarters ( lecturing)

    12 February 1919: Rejoins unit

    25 February 1919: detached to U.K.

    12 May 1919: admitted to Walton on Thames (with Tonsillitis)

    5 June 1919: discharged from Walton-on -Thames Hospital to Headquarters , London

    Appointed Divisional Agricultural Officer, NZEF

    Lecturer on New Zealand 1st Army, British Expeditionary Force

    4 August 1919: report Sling Camp

    14 August 1919: embarked New Zealand military transport S.S. "Adolph Woermann" (steamship)

    2 October 1919: returned to New Zealand

    1 December 1919 : discharged from New Zealand Expeditionary Force

    Territorial Service

    16th Waikato Company, 3rd Battalion, Auckland Regiment, 4th Brigade, NZEF

    16 Waikato Company, 2nd Battalion, Auckland Regiment, NZEF

    After the war Norman Russell Withiel Thomas served in the New Zealand Territorial Armed Forces with the rank of Captain. Unattached list from 2 December 1919 to 31 May 1920 ( i.e. not attached to any regiment) .Transferred to 16th (Waikato) Regiment on 1 June 1920. Served in the 16th (Waikato) Regiment from 1 June 1920 - 31 May 1921 then with the Auckland Regiment from 1 June 1921 to 30 April 1923

    For more information on the activities of the Auckland Regiment try " The Auckland Regiment being an account of the doings on active service of the First, Second and Third Battalions of the Auckland Regiment." by O.E. Burton. The following gives an accout of conditions during the latter part of 1917 regarding gas attacks. "Another matter of medical importance was the increase in gas casualties. Mixtures of phosgene and mustard gas - some said a new type of gas smelling of sulphuretted hydrogen - were frequently used by the enemy artillery. On the night of the 16/17th November 1917 November there was a heavy bombardment of our back areas with mixed gases, the "shoot" opened at 11pm and continued until 2am, not without casualties. This type of gas attack, in which there was concentration on limited areas, was now much used by the Germans and realisedvery material results. Special instructions were issued, the intention of which was to secure earlier evacuation of all slightly gassed men and a greater care in handling this class of casualty and their clothing, so as to minimise ill effects to the attendants."(Source: The New Zealand Medical Service in the GReat War 1914 - 1919 by A.D. Carberry, page 361)

    Attended Auckland University College (now the University of Auckland). AWMM
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About death

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  • Death
    5 June 1969 AWMM
    Age 78 AWMM
  • Date of death
  • Age at death
  • Place of death
  • Cause of death
  • Death notes
  • Cemetery
    Purewa Cemetery and Crematorium, Meadowbank, Auckland, New Zealand AWMM
  • Cemetery name
  • Grave reference
  • Obituary
  • Memorial name
  • Memorial reference



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  • Memorial name

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