Norman Douglas Sherwin was born in Cargo in 1894, one of seven children born to Arthur Sherwin and his wife Catherine. Norman’s father, Arthur, became the Boree Shire Council Clerk in 1906, a position he held for many years.
Norman was educated at St Joseph’s Convent School in Cargo. As a student Norman and his siblings entered their school and handiwork in regional shows throughout NSW and Victoria. Norman regularly won first prize (and sometimes second prize as well) for his neat handwriting and tidy exercise book. Between 1905 and 1912 he won awards in many towns, including Cudal, Cumnock, Manildra, Canowindra, Parkes, Peak Hill and Dubbo. At the Orange Jubilee Show in April 1912 he won 1st prize for his exceptional handwriting.
Norman was one of the earliest recruits for WWI, enlisting in Sydney in September 1914. He embarked in December that year, a Trooper with the 6th Light Horse Regiment. In June 1915 at Gallipoli Norman sustained a gunshot wound to the left hand, which turned septic, necessitating his hospitalisation in Greece. He returned to his unit the following month, but would be hospitalised on two other occasions; in August 1915, with sunstroke, and in February 1916 with mumps.
During his time at the front Norman wrote many letters home to his friends and family. Most of these were published by the Molong Express and Western District Advertiser.
On 28 March 1918 Trooper Sherwin participated in the attack on Amman in Palestine, during which he was wounded. He was later reported to be reported missing in action, having been taken as a prisoner of war by the Turks. He was subsequently shot and died and was buried in an unmarked grave. He was 23. In the words of fellow prisoner of war Trooper A. Crockett:
He was wounded in the leg by a machine gun bullet about 2.30pm on the 28 March 1918 at Amman. He was taken prisoner with me and was shot through the stomach by the Turks soon afterwards by a rifle bullet. We were taken to Amman Station and put on the train and he died at 4am next morning. The Turks buried him about ¼ mile from the Station near the Railway Line. No identification was put on his grave.
Norman is remembered on his mother’s headstone in Cargo General Cemetery.
Molong Express and Western District Advertiser, 23 October 1915, p. 5
“Not so Very Awful”
Norman describes the Gallipoli landing and gives an account of a typical day in the trenches.
Molong Express and Western District Advertiser, 2 October 1915, p. 5
Soldiers’ Stories – Sick of doing nothing
Norman describes his frustration with the boredom of camp life.