GAIR, Norman Rothery

  1. Service Details
  2. Personal Details
  3. Unit and Rank Details
  4. Fate
  5. Commemoration
  6. Notes
  7. Sources

Service Details

Branch of Service
Army
Conflict
World War II
Date of Enlistment
03/07/1940
Place of Enlistment
Cauflield, Victoria

Personal Details

Gender
Male
Date of Birth
25/05/1917
Place of Birth
Melbourne, Victoria
Address (at enlistment)
Oakleigh, Victoria
School(s) Attended
Canberra Grammar School
Next of Kin
Son of the Revd. Thomas Albert Gair and Hannah Stanley Gair, of Oakleigh, Victoria.

Unit and Rank Details

Service Number
VX28693
Final Rank
Lance Corporal
Final Unit
2/22 Infantry Battalion AIF

Fate

Died 1 July 1942 aged 25 years, at sea South West Pacific area.

Commemoration

AWM Roll of Honour, Canberra ACT: Panel 48.
Rabaul Memorial, Papua New Guinea: Panel 17.
Canberra Grammar School. Roll of honour 1939-45; and memorial window in school chapel.
Roll of Honour/Memorial, Oakleigh, Victoria.

Notes

Gair was a boarder at Canberra Grammar School. During the 1920s his father was the rector at a church in Tumut. Gair belonged to the 2/22 Battalion (part of the 8th Division). The 2/22 Battalion arrived in Rabaul, New Britain, on 26 April 1941 and became part of Lark Force. Lark Force's role was to defend Rabaul and the airfields of New Britain as well as provide early warning of any Japanese attack. The Japanese landed on New Britain on 23 January 1942 and outnumbered the troops of Lark Force by more than four to one. Gair and most of his unit were captured and made prisoners of war.

On 22nd June 1942, the Japanese ordered 852 Australian prisoners of war (those of the 2/22 Battalion) and 208 civilian internees at Rabaul to board the Montevideo Maru for transport to Hainan Island in the South China Sea. The ship was not marked as carrying prisoners. It was sighted by an American submarine, the USS Sturgeon, on 1 July 1942 off the coast of Luzon in the Philippines. Unaware that it was carrying POWs, the Sturgeon torpedoed the Montevideo Maru. In the single biggest maritime disaster in Australian history, all the prisoners on board, including Norman Gair, were killed. He was 25 years of age and has no known grave.

The Rabaul Memorial commemorates over 1,200 members of the Australian Army (including personnel of the New Guinea and Papuan local forces and constabulary) and the Royal Australian Air Force, who lost their lives in New Britain and New Ireland in January and February 1942, and in New Britain from November 1944 to August 1945, and who have no known grave.

Sources

Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Debt of Honour Register. <http://www.cwgc.org/cwgcinternet/search/>
Australia. Department of Veterans' Affairs. World War 2 nominal roll. <http://www.ww2roll.gov.au/>
AWM Roll of Honour and Roll of Honour Circulars <http://www.awm.gov.au/database/roh.asp>
The Canberra Times - 10 October 1945
Sydney Morning Herald - 7 May 1928

Create Certificate
Montevideo Maru Memorial at the Australian War Memorial.

Montevideo Maru Memorial at the Australian War Memorial.

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