Lance Sergeant Norman Harvey Noell

Regiment: 2nd Canadian Mounted Rifles (British Columbia Regiment).
Service No.: 117449
Date and place of birth: 29 November 1889 in Gwinear, near Hayle, Cornwall
Date and place of death: 29 September 1918 (aged 28) near Cambrai, northern France

Norman Harvey Noell was born in 1889 in Gwinear, near Hayle, Cornwall where his father was a farmer. He moved with his parents to Elsted when he was about 12 years old, before emigrating to Canada when he was 20. He enlisted into the Canadian Mounted Rifles and was killed in the Battle of the Canal du Nord a few weeks before the end of the war.

Family background

Norman Noell was born in the village of Gwinear, three miles from Hayle in Cornwall, the fifth of six sons born to Simeon Noell (1846 – 1924) and his wife, Elizabeth Ethel née Cardell (1861 – 1939).

Simeon had also been born in Gwinear, as had his father before him. On 8 March 1881, Simeon (aged 35) married Elizabeth Cardell, who was 15 years his junior, in her home village of St Erth, about four miles south-west of Gwinear.

At the time of their wedding, the couple were living at Deveral Farm when Simeon was described as a farmer and butcher with 72 acres. Their first son, Simeon Archibald, was born a few months after the marriage with four further sons being born over the next 10 years. The second son, Walter, was born in 1882 but died a few months later. Reginald and John were born in 1884 and 1886 respectively.

Norman was born on 29 November 1889 and baptised in Gwinear on 26 January 1891. The couple continued to live and farm at Deveral Farm until 1902. Their sixth son, Donald, was born at Gwinear in May 1902. Shortly afterwards, the family moved to Hillands Farm, the most southerly property in Elsted parish, located at the top of the road leading down to Hooksway.

In the 1911 census, the couple and two of their sons, Reginald and Donald, were living at Hillands where Simeon was shown as a farmer and employer, aged 66, although he was a tenant of Sir Robert F Turing, Bt. who lived at Chilgrove House.

On 18 March 1910, Norman sailed from Liverpool on board the Allan Line ship, RMS Victorian, bound for St John in New Brunswick, Canada. His eldest brother, Simeon Archibald, had previously emigrated to South Africa where he died in 1911, aged 30.

Military service

Norman enlisted at Calgary, in Alberta on 1 April 1915, joining the 12th Canadian Mounted Rifles. He was later transferred to the 2nd Battalion (British Columbia Regiment) and progressed through the ranks, to become a Lance-Sergeant.

The regiment was part of the 8th (Canadian) Brigade, 3rd Canadian Division which saw heavy fighting at Mount Sorrel, south of Ypres, during June 1916, then moved to the Somme, and fought at Flers, Thiepval, Le Transloy and the Ancre. They were in the Arras sector in 1917, and took part in the Battle of Vimy Ridge, staying in the area until October 1917 when they moved to Ypres, fighting at Passchendaele village.

In 1918 they moved south, taking part in the turning point of the war, the Battle of Amiens, on 8 August 1918 and stayed on the offensive, pushing north-east toward the Scarpe and the Canal Du Nord, on the outskirts of Cambrai.

Death and commemoration

The grave of Lance-Sergeant Norman Harvey Noell at Cantimpre Canadian Cemetery, Cambrai.
The grave of Lance-Sergeant Norman Harvey Noell at Cantimpre Canadian Cemetery, Cambrai.

Norman was killed on 29 September 1918, during the battle to force a passage across the Canal du Nord. He was buried at Cantimpre Canadian Cemetery, near Sailly to the west of Cambrai and is commemorated on the Elsted & Treyford War Memorial.

Subsequent family history

Simeon continued to farm at Hillands until his death in 1924.  He was buried in North Marden churchyard. Following his death, his widow returned to Cornwall where she died in 1939.

Don and Reg continued to live in one half of the cottage located opposite the Royal Oak at Hooksway. Don moved to Harting in about 1930, but Reg remained there until he died in 1949. Don died in Harting in November 1980.

The remaining brother, John, is believed to have also emigrated to Canada where he died near Calgary in 1967.


Midhurst U3A WW1 War Memorial Project