You are viewing this site in staging mode. Click in this bar to return to normal site.

Norman Gale Witherby: Friday 9th August 1918

Norman emigrated to Canada about 1905.  On his attestation papers, he listed his occupation as farmer.  He was 5’7½” tall, 44” chest with 4½” expansion, dark complexion, grey eyes, dark brown hair and extensive scaring of the throat and both arms.  He enlisted with the Canadian Infantry (Alberta Regiment), 31st Batt. on 18 Nov 1914 at Red Deer Alberta and became Corporal No. 79610.

He was killed in action and is buried in Caix British Cemetery on the Somme together with some 20 other Canadians shown as falling the same day.  Norman gave his brother H C Witherby of 20 Lyford Road as his next of kin.

Norman was born on 24 October 1885 in London.  His parents were the late Rev Herbert Christopher and Mary Witherby of St Peter’s Vicarage Rochester. In 1881 Rev Herbert had been a curate in Streatham; the family hailed originally from Islington. 

Herbert C Junior was the chief clerk to an assurance society and when his daughter, Joyce was baptised in 1906, his uncle Cornelius conducted the service at SMM. Cornelius died on Christmas Eve 1916 at 83, leaving an estate of £2623 7s 11d.  He split his estate between Herbert C Junior and Mary.  There was no mention of Norman.  He did not live to see his nephew killed.

Rev Cornelius Witherby of 58 Lyford Road, was one of the 3 curates at St Mary Magdalene.  He appears, from the electoral register, to have moved here in 1906.  He was a widower and living with his spinster daughter, Mary, 49, and adopted daughter Ada, 50.  In 1911 they kept 2 servants.  He had been vicar of various churches including 10 years at Bream in Gloucestershire where he had been responsible for enlarging the church and a memorial plaque was erected after his death.  He published a number of books on theological topics and British birds. Cornelius’ father, also Herbert, was a fruit broker.  Not the obvious occupation to produce two clergymen sons.