4 November (1918)…

Sergeant Alfred Norris M.M. and Bar 4 November 1918 Brookwood Military Cemetery, England (P. Ferguson image, September 2012)

Sergeant Alfred Norris M.M. and Bar
4 November 1918
Brookwood Military Cemetery, England
(P. Ferguson image, September 2012)

Sergeant Alfred Norris M.M. and Bar
1st Battalion Canadian Machine Gun Corps

For Bravery in the Field…a twice decorated soldier who was awarded the Military Medal and a bar, representing a second award of this honour. Alfred Norris received recognition for his coolness and courage at Fresnoy, France and again for conspicuous gallantry at Passchendaele Ridge, Belgium. (Citations for both awards appear at the end of this article).

Born in 1892 at Bilston, Staffordshire, England, Norris was one of many farmers from across Canada who joined the Canadian Expeditionary Force. Norris served initially with the 52nd Canadian Infantry Battalion but in March 1916 transferred to the 1st Company Canadian Machine Gun Corps. The corps being known to many soldiers as the Emma Gees. Norris was severely wounded 9 August 1918, suffering penetrating wounds to the head and chest. At the time of his injuries Norris was transported to No. 2 Canadian Hospital at Le Tréport, France.

After initial treatments Norris was eventually removed from the dangerously ill list and sent to 1st General Hospital, Camberwell, England where he died of his wounds. Sergeant Norris is buried at Brookwood Military Cemetery, Surrey, England at grave III.G.4. In all there are 1,060 other Great War burials at Brookwood. Norris’ next of kin are recorded in his service record as James and Ada Norris of Pinewood, Ontario. Two brothers, James and Leonard also served during the Great War.

Brookwood, created in 1917, is located almost 50 Km southwest of London and is the largest war graves site in the United Kingdom covering 37 acres. At first  personnel buried at Brookwood were those who died of their wounds within the London District. The cemetery includes nearly 3,500 Second World War burials of which almost 2,400 are Canadians; as well as memorials and more recent solider graves. 786 burials from non-Commonwealth nations are represented at Brookwood including 28 unidentified French.

In 2015 a Great War memorial was constructed to commemorate those casualties who died in the United Kingdom and whose graves are unknown.

This Day
4 November 1918
2,772 Fatalities


Military Medal

On May 3rd & 4th 1917, during the operations against FRESNOY, the N.C.O., after taking up his gun position, came under heavy rifle and machine gun fire, and was buried twice by shells but held on to his position. on the evening of the 4th, his No. 2 was wounded and he carried him to safety and went back and remained in position until relieved after which he went out and brought in three wounded men. Throughout these operations by his great coolness and courage, he did much to keep up the morale of his crew.

Bar to Military Medal

For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. During the offensive around PASSCHENDAELE RIDGE Nov. 8th 1917. This N.C.O. displayed great coolness and fearlessness under heavy shell fire. After taking up their position, the gun and tripod were destroyed by shell fire and the crew buried. Cpl. NORRIS dug the men out and, after getting a new gun, took up another position, moving to alternative positions several times on his own initiative, thereby saving his crew from heavy casualties.

About The Author

Paul has worked with the Paradigm Motion Picture Company since 2009 as producer, historian and research specialist. Paul first met Casey and Ian WIlliams of Paradigm in April 2007 at Ieper (Ypres), Belgium when ceremonies were being held for the re-dedication of the Vimy Memorial, France. Paul's sensitivity to film was developed at an early age seeing his first films at RCAF Zweibrucken, Germany and Sardinia. Paul returned to Canada in 1967 and was captivated by David Lean's "Lawrence of Arabia" and "Bridge on the River Kwai". Over time Paul became increasingly interested in storytelling, content development, character, direction, cinematography, narration and soundtracks. At the University of Victoria, Paul studied and compared Japanese and Australian film and became interested in Australian film maker Peter Weir and his film "Gallipoli" (1981). Paul was inspired when he learned Weir visited the beaches, ridges and ravines of the peninsula. "Gallipoli", the film, led Paul on many journeys to sites of conflict in England, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Malta, Hawaii, Gallipoli, North Macedonia and Salonika. When Paul first watched documentary filmmaker Ken Burns, "The Civil War", Paul understood how his own experience and insight could be effective and perhaps influential in film-making. Combining his knowledge of Museums and Archives, exhibitions and idea strategies with his film interests was a natural progression. Paul thinks like a film-maker. His passion for history and storytelling brings to Paradigm an eye (and ear) to the keen and sensitive interests of; content development, the understanding of successful and relational use of collections, imagery and voice. Like Paul's favorite actor, Peter O'Toole, Paul believes in the adage “To deepen not broaden.” While on this path Paul always remembers his grandmother whose father did not return from the Great War and how his loss shaped her life and how her experience continues to guide him.


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