- Branch of Service
- World War II
- Date of Enlistment
- Place of Enlistment
- Cauflield, Victoria
- Date of Birth
- 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.
- Service Number
- Final Rank
- Lance Corporal
- Final Unit
- 2/22 Infantry Battalion AIF
Died 1 July 1942 aged 25 years, at sea South West Pacific area.
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.
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.
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