Norman Osborn Herbert Gall was born in Wagga Wagga in 1894, the eldest son of Albert Richard and Ada Caroline Gall. Norman’s paternal grandfather was Captain Isaac Hindley Herbert Gall, of His Majesty’s 99th Regiment.
The family moved to Orange in the late 1890s, where Albert had secured employment with the Lands Department. Norman attended Wolaroi Grammar School in Orange. In 1910 he sat, and passed, the Junior University Examination. Both Norman and his father Richard were keen golfers; Norman represented Orange in many golf tournaments, including the Western Districts Premiership in 1912. The family worshipped at Holy Trinity Church, where Richard was an office bearer.
Following his education Norman was appointed to Bootle surveyors in Woodward Street. He was working there as a surveyor when he enlisted in March 1915.
Private Gall embarked from Sydney in June 1915. He joined the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force in Gallipoli in August 1915 and fought right through the Gallipoli campaign; he was reportedly one of the last men to leave the peninsula.
Gall proceeded to France in February 1916 and fought in the battle of the Somme. He was appointed Lance Corporal in June, Temporary Sergeant in August, and Sergeant on 6 November. He was due to receive a promotion to Lieutenant when, on 15 November, he was killed in action.
Private Reidy of Glebe described Sergeant Gall’s death thus:
Sergeant Gall was standing in a trench with his platoon after an unsuccessful attempt to launch an attack, when desiring to assist a Lewis gun crew firing on the enemy, he peeped over the parapet with a view to having a shot, when he was struck in the forehead by a German sniper’s bullet and killed instantaneously. His body was placed on the parados and two days later on a couple of Batt. Pioneers going to the spot to bury him, could find no trace of the body.
In February 1917 Corporal Con Dempsey from Cudal wrote a letter to Norman’s family explaining that a Roman Catholic priest buried Gall near where he fell.
Norman Osborn Herbert Gall is commemorated on the Patrician Brothers’ Roll of Honour, St Joseph’s Church Orange Honour Roll, the Orange Golf Club Honour Roll and on the World War I Roll of Honour on the southern face of the Orange Cenotaph.
In September 1918 a white marble tablet in honour of Norman’s grandmother, Mrs Emma Kemp was unveiled at St. Thomas’ Church in Port Macquarie. The tablet also commemorates Norman; the inscription reads:
Sacred to the memory of Emma, widow of Frederick Richard Kemp, Vicar of Port Macquarie, 1860-77, and formerly widow of Hindley Herbert Gall, Captain H.M. 99th Regiment, who fell asleep on 27th July, 1903, aged 79 years. Also her grandson, Norman Osborne Herbert Gall, Sergt. 20th Battalion, A.I.F. – an Anzac, one of the last to leave Gallipoli at the evacuation – who fought unscathed through the battle of the Somme, and was about to receive promotion to Lieutenant when he was killed in action in a charge from the trenches at Flers in France on November 16, 1916, aged 23 years. Requiescat in Pace.
In 1923 the Anzac Memorial Avenue of trees was planted along Bathurst Road to commemorate fallen WWI soldiers. A tree was planted in honour of “Pte NOH Gall”; it was donated by The Advocate. Very few of the trees are still standing today.