Willoughby Norrie, 1st Baron Norrie

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The Lord Norrie

GCMG , GCVO , CB , DSO , MC & Bar
Willoughby Norrie 1953 (cropped).jpg
Lord Norrie in 1953
8th Governor-General of New Zealand
In office
2 December 1952 5 July 1957
Monarch Elizabeth II
Premier Sidney Holland
Preceded by The Lord Freyberg
Succeeded by The Viscount Cobham
23rd Governor of South Australia
In office
19 December 1944 19 June 1952
Monarch George VI
Elizabeth II
Preceded by Sir Malcolm Barclay-Harvey
Succeeded by Sir Robert George
Personal details
Born(1893-09-26)26 September 1893
Brompton, London
Died25 May 1977(1977-05-25) (aged 83)
Wantage, Oxfordshire
Nationality British
Military service
AllegianceUnited Kingdom
Branch/service British Army
Years of service1913–1944
Rank Lieutenant-General
Unit 11th Hussars
Commands Commander Royal Armoured Corps (1943–44)
XXX Corps (1941–42)
1st Armoured Division (1940–41)
1st Armoured Brigade (1940)
1st Light Armoured Brigade (1938–40)
1st Cavalry Brigade (1936–38)
10th Hussars (1931–35)
Battles/wars First World War
Second World War
Awards Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St Michael and St George
Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order
Companion of the Order of the Bath [1]
Distinguished Service Order [2]
Military Cross & Bar [3] [4]
Knight of the Venerable Order of St John [5]
Mentioned in despatches (2) [6]

Lieutenant-General Charles Willoughby Moke Norrie, 1st Baron Norrie, GCMG , GCVO , CB , DSO , MC & Bar (26 September 1893 – 25 May 1977), was a senior officer of the British Army who fought in both World Wars, following which he served terms as Governor of South Australia and the eighth Governor-General of New Zealand.

Lieutenant general, formerly more commonly lieutenant-general, is a senior rank in the British Army and the Royal Marines. It is the equivalent of a multinational three-star rank; some British lieutenant generals sometimes wear three-star insignia, in addition to their standard insignia, when on multinational operations.

Distinguished Service Order UK military decoration

The Distinguished Service Order (DSO) is a military decoration of the United Kingdom, and formerly of other parts of the Commonwealth, awarded for meritorious or distinguished service by officers of the armed forces during wartime, typically in actual combat. Since 1993 all ranks have been eligible.

Military Cross third-level military decoration of the British Armed Forces, Commonwealth officers

The Military Cross (MC) is the third-level military decoration awarded to officers and other ranks of the British Armed Forces, and formerly awarded to officers of other Commonwealth countries.

Contents

Military career

Early career and First World War

Educated at Eton College and at the Royal Military College, Sandhurst, he was commissioned as a second lieutenant into the British Army's 11th Hussars in 1913. [7] He served in the First World War, in which he was awarded the Distinguished Service Order, the Military Cross and Bar, was twice mentioned in despatches, and was wounded four times. He became, successively, a Staff Captain in the 73rd Brigade; General Staff Officer Grade 3 (GSO3) in XVIII Corps; brigade major in the 90th Brigade, and in the 2nd Tank Brigade; and second GSO in the 2nd Battalion, Tank Corps. In January 1919 he changed his name by deed poll from Moke-Norrie to Norrie. [8]

Eton College British independent boarding school located in Eton

Eton College is a 13–18 independent boarding school and sixth form for boys in the parish of Eton, near Windsor in Berkshire, England. It was founded in 1440 by King Henry VI as Kynge's College of Our Ladye of Eton besyde Windesore , as a sister institution to King's College, Cambridge, making it the 18th-oldest Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference school.

Royal Military College, Sandhurst British Army military academy

The Royal Military College (RMC), founded in 1801 and established in 1802 at Great Marlow and High Wycombe in Buckinghamshire, England, but moved in October 1812 to Sandhurst, Berkshire, was a British Army military academy for training infantry and cavalry officers of the British and Indian Armies.

Officer (armed forces) member of an armed force or uniformed service who holds a position of authority

An officer is a member of an armed forces or uniformed service who holds a position of authority.

Between the wars

Between the world wars Norrie had a number of regimental and staff postings, interrupted by a year at the Staff College, Camberley in 1924. [9] In 1931 he was promoted to lieutenant colonel and became Commanding Officer (CO) of the 10th Hussars, [10] after which he was placed on the half-pay (inactive) list although promoted to full colonel in 1935. [11] In January 1936, still on the half pay list, Norrie took part in the funeral procession for King George V as one of the "Representative Colonels-Commandant and Colonels of His late Majesty's Regiments". [12] After attending the Imperial Defence College, [13] in April 1936 he was appointed to command the 1st Cavalry Brigade as a temporary brigadier. [14] His brigade was mechanised in 1938 and re-designated 1st Light Armoured Brigade, becoming the 1st Armoured Brigade in 1940.

Interwar period Period between the end of World War I and the beginning of World War II

In the context of the history of the 20th century, the interwar period was the period between the end of the First World War in November 1918 and the beginning of the Second World War in September 1939. This period is also colloquially referred to as Between the Wars.

Staff College, Camberley former staff college for the British Army and the Presidency armies of British India

Staff College, Camberley, Surrey, was a staff college for the British Army and the presidency armies of British India. It had its origins in the Royal Military College, High Wycombe founded in 1799, which in 1802 became the Senior Department of the new Royal Military College. In 1858 the name of the Senior Department was changed to "Staff College", and in 1870 this was separated from the Royal Military College. Apart from periods of closure during major wars, the Staff College continued to operate until 1997, when it was merged into the new Joint Services Command and Staff College. The equivalent in the Royal Navy was the Royal Naval Staff College, Greenwich and the equivalent in the Royal Air Force was the RAF Staff College, Bracknell.

Lieutenant colonel, is a rank in the British Army and Royal Marines which is also used in many Commonwealth countries. The rank is superior to major, and subordinate to colonel. The comparable Royal Navy rank is commander, and the comparable rank in the Royal Air Force and many Commonwealth air forces is wing commander.

Second World War

The GOC Eighth Army, Lieutenant-General Neil Ritchie (centre, with pipe) addressing other officers in North Africa, 31 May 1942. Also pictured are Lieutenant-General Willoughby Norrie, GOC XXX Corps, and William Gott, GOC XIII Corps. GenRitchie.jpg
The GOC Eighth Army, Lieutenant-General Neil Ritchie (centre, with pipe) addressing other officers in North Africa, 31 May 1942. Also pictured are Lieutenant-General Willoughby Norrie, GOC XXX Corps, and William Gott, GOC XIII Corps.

On the outbreak of the Second World War Norrie continued to serve as commander of the 1st Armoured Brigade. In April 1940 the brigade was part of the 2nd Armoured Division, which he was given temporary command of for a month between appointments of permanent commanders. Following this he was appointed acting major general [15] and became Inspector of the Royal Armoured Corps. Four months later he became General Officer Commanding (GOC) of the 1st Armoured Division and was promoted to the permanent rank of major general in June 1941. [16]

2nd Armoured Division (United Kingdom) 1939-1941 combat formation of the British Army

The 2nd Armoured Division was an armoured division of the British Army, active during the Second World War. The division was created on 15 December 1939 and disbanded on 10 May 1941, after part of the division was captured at Mechili in Libya from 5 to 8 April 1941, by German and Italian forces during the Western Desert Campaign and part was lost in the Battle of Greece (6–30 April).

An acting rank is a military designation allowing a commissioned or non-commissioned officer to assume a rank—usually higher and usually temporary—without the pay and allowances appropriate to that grade. As such, an officer may be ordered back to the previous grade. This situation may arise when a lower-ranking officer is called upon to replace a senior officer, or fill a position higher than the current rank held.

Major general, is a "two-star" rank in the British Army and Royal Marines. The rank was also briefly used by the Royal Air Force for a year and a half, from its creation to August 1919. In the British Army, a major general is the customary rank for the appointment of division commander. In the Royal Marines, the rank of major general is held by the Commandant General.

In November 1941 the division was ordered to Egypt where Norrie found himself appointed acting lieutenant general [17] to command XXX Corps in the place of Vyvyan Pope, Norrie's fellow student at the Staff College in the 1920s, who had died in an air crash shortly before Norrie's arrival in Egypt. [18] He commanded XXX Corps during Operation Crusader with some success but his tanks suffered a heavy defeat at the Battle of Gazala in June 1942. He was criticised for his "cavalry" approach to armoured warfare and General Sir Claude Auchinleck, the Eighth Army commander, replaced him in July.

XXX Corps (United Kingdom) corps of the British Army during the Second World War

XXX Corps was a corps of the British Army during the Second World War. The Corps provided extensive service in the North African Campaign at the Second Battle of El Alamein in late 1942, and in the Tunisia Campaign and the Allied invasion of Sicily in 1943, after which it returned briefly to the United Kingdom; the Corps served in the reclamation of France from June 1944 in the Allied Invasion of Normandy, and then served in Operation Market Garden, in the Netherlands, and finally in Operation Veritable in Germany until May 1945.

Vyvyan Pope British Army general

Lieutenant General Vyvyan Vavasour Pope CBE DSO MC & Bar was a senior British Army officer who was prominent in developing ideas about the use of armour in battle in the interwar years, and who briefly commanded XXX Corps during World War II, before being killed in an air crash.

Operation Crusader conflict

Operation Crusader was a military operation during the Second World War by the British Eighth Army against the Axis forces in North Africa between 18 November and 30 December 1941. The operation was intended to relieve the 1941 Siege of Tobruk; the Eighth Army tried to destroy the Axis armoured force before advancing its infantry. The plan failed when, after a number of inconclusive engagements, the British 7th Armoured Division was defeated by the Afrika Korps at Sidi Rezegh.

He returned to Britain to be appointed Commander of the Royal Armoured Corps in which role he was to give advice on armoured warfare to General Bernard Paget, the Commander-in-Chief, Home Forces. He continued as Paget's advisor when Paget became commander of the Anglo-Canadian 21st Army Group on its formation in July 1943 but when General Bernard Montgomery assumed command early in 1944, he brought his own advisor. [19] In April 1944 Norrie was appointed Head of the Military Mission to the French Committee of National Liberation (CFLN) in Algiers, a post he held until the middle of 1944 when he was proposed by the Secretary of State for the Dominions to become Governor of South Australia. [20]

Bernard Paget British Army general

General Sir Bernard Charles Tolver Paget, was a senior British Army officer during the Second World War. He commanded the 21st Army Group from June to December 1943 and was Commander-in-Chief (C-in-C) Middle East Command from January 1944 to October 1946. He was the senior serving general in the British Army.

Commander-in-Chief, Home Forces was a senior officer in the British Army during the First and Second World Wars. The role of the appointment was firstly to oversee the training and equipment of formations in preparation for their deployment overseas, and secondly, to command the forces required to defend the United Kingdom against an enemy incursion or invasion.

21st Army Group WWII United Kingdom military group

The 21st Army Group was a World War II British headquarters formation, in command of two field armies and other supporting units, consisting primarily of the British Second Army and the First Canadian Army. Established in London during July 1943, under the command of Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force (SHAEF), it was assigned to Operation Overlord, the Western Allied invasion of Europe, and was an important Allied force in the European Theatre. At various times during its existence, the 21st Army Group had additional British, Canadian, American and Polish field armies or corps attached to it. The 21st Army Group operated in Northern France, Luxembourg, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany from June 1944 until August 1945, when it was renamed the British Army of the Rhine (BAOR).

Norrie retired from the British Army in September 1944 to take up his post as Governor of South Australia. Although his substantive rank at this time was still major general, he was given the honorary rank of lieutenant general in retirement. [21]

Family

Norrie (in dinghy) and his family, with Captain Farebrother, ADC (standing, left) at Henley Beach, South Australia, December 1946 Sir Willoughy Norrie and family in the sea.jpg
Norrie (in dinghy) and his family, with Captain Farebrother, ADC (standing, left) at Henley Beach, South Australia, December 1946

Norrie was married to Jocelyn Helen Gosling on 9 June 1922. They had three children:

Jocelyn Norrie died on 7 March 1938. He remarried later that year, to Patricia Merryweather Bainbridge, on 28 November. They also had three children:

Norrie also had a ward, his niece Eleanor Kerans (born 21 April 1926). She had been orphaned at an early age, and when she was 16 her brother was killed in the Western Desert Campaign of the Second World War, leaving her with no immediate family.

Governor of South Australia

Norrie (right) with Prime Minister Ben Chifley (left) and Premier of South Australia Tom Playford (centre) Norrie Chifley Playford.jpg
Norrie (right) with Prime Minister Ben Chifley (left) and Premier of South Australia Tom Playford (centre)

Norrie was appointed Governor of South Australia in September 1944, whereupon he was knighted as a Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George (KCMG). [22] [23] He, his family and 12 staff arrived in Adelaide in December. The Vice-Regal couple worked hard to keep the 'Empire Spirit' alive during wartime. Within two years, Norrie had travelled to every local government area within the state, and was sure to welcome servicemen returning from war. Lady Patricia, with Rosemary and Eleanor, were regular volunteers and champions of various patriotic causes. In 1945, Norrie was made a Knight of St John, an award associated with public and charitable works.

Although normally remaining neutral in regards to local politics, he was 'shocked' at the narrow rejection of Thomas Playford's bill to nationalise the Adelaide Electric Company. He privately exerted pressure on the bill's main opponents. When the bill was reintroduced in 1946, Collier Cudmore (later Sir Collier) absented himself from key divisions, allowing the bill to pass and leading to the establishment of the Electricity Trust of South Australia. [23]

Norrie's term was extended for four years in 1948.

Despite his illustrious career, he would forever claim that his greatest achievement was the catching of a shark weighing 2,225 pounds (1,009 kg), with rod and reel, off Port Lincoln. [23] For part of his term as Governor, his official Aide-de-Camp was the young Viscount Althorp (later The 8th Earl Spencer), the father of Diana, Princess of Wales.

Governor-General of New Zealand

Sir Willoughby and Lady Norrie with Mayor H. H. Podmore during a visit to Foxton, New Zealand, April 1954 Willoughby Norrie Lady Norrie HH Podmore.jpg
Sir Willoughby and Lady Norrie with Mayor H. H. Podmore during a visit to Foxton, New Zealand, April 1954

Norrie's KCMG was promoted to Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St Michael and St George (GCMG) when he was appointed Governor-General of New Zealand in 1952, [24] in which position he served until 1957. During his tenure he was made Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order (GCVO) for personal services to The Queen. [25] On leaving office, he was created a peer in 1957 as Baron Norrie, of Wellington in the Dominion of New Zealand and of Upton in the County of Gloucester. [26] [27] From 1960 to 1968 he was Chancellor of the Order of Saint Michael and Saint George. [28]

Styles

Note: An asterisk (*) denotes a bar to a military award

Arms

Notes

  1. "No. 35697". The London Gazette (Supplement). 8 September 1942. p. 3945.
  2. "No. 31092". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 1918. p. 19.
  3. "No. 29202". The London Gazette (Supplement). 22 June 1915. p. 6119.
  4. "No. 30308". The London Gazette (Supplement). 25 September 1917. p. 9971.
  5. "No. 36875". The London Gazette . 2 January 1945. p. 183.
  6. "No. 29200". The London Gazette (Supplement). 18 June 1915. p. 5982.
  7. "No. 28687". The London Gazette . 4 February 1913. p. 845.
  8. "No. 31143". The London Gazette . 24 January 1919. p. 1302.
  9. "No. 32901". The London Gazette . 25 January 1924. p. 773.
  10. "No. 33733". The London Gazette . 7 July 1931. p. 4439.
  11. "No. 34177". The London Gazette . 5 July 1935. p. 4343.
  12. "No. 34279". The London Gazette (Supplement). 29 April 1936. p. 2768.
  13. Smart, p. 235
  14. "No. 34274". The London Gazette . 14 April 1936. p. 2452.
  15. "No. 34944". The London Gazette (Supplement). 10 September 1940. p. 5471.
  16. "No. 35192". The London Gazette (Supplement). 13 June 1941. p. 3440.
  17. "No. 35377". The London Gazette (Supplement). 9 December 1941. p. 7043.
  18. Mead, p. 323
  19. Mead, p. 326.
  20. Mead, p. 327.
  21. "No. 36704". The London Gazette (Supplement). 15 September 1944. p. 4307.
  22. "No. 36651". The London Gazette . 11 August 1944. p. 3724.
  23. 1 2 3 Australian Dictionary of Biography
  24. "No. 39610". The London Gazette . 29 July 1952. p. 4075.
  25. "No. 40103". The London Gazette . 16 February 1954. p. 1007.
  26. "No. 41089". The London Gazette (Supplement). 4 June 1957. p. 3367.
  27. "No. 41161". The London Gazette . 27 August 1957. p. 5053.
  28. "No. 42128". The London Gazette . 26 August 1960. p. 5866.

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References

Military offices
Preceded by
Roger Evans
GOC 1st Armoured Division
1940–1941
Succeeded by
Herbert Lumsden
Preceded by
Vyvyan Pope
GOC XXX Corps
1941–1942
Succeeded by
William Ramsden
Government offices
Preceded by
Sir Malcolm Barclay-Harvey
Governor of South Australia
1944–1952
Succeeded by
Sir Robert George
Honorary titles
Preceded by
Victor Greenwood
Colonel of the 10th Royal Hussars (Prince of Wales's Own)
1947–1949
Succeeded by
Sir Charles Gairdner
Government offices
Preceded by
The Lord Freyberg
Governor-General of New Zealand
1952–1957
Succeeded by
The Viscount Cobham
Peerage of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
New creation
Baron Norrie
1957–1977
Succeeded by
George Norrie