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Sunday 25 February 2024

First Australian Infantry Force - Private Norman Edwin Sheldon

All Saint's Cemetery
Maidenhead, Berkshire

All Saint's Cemetery
Maidenhead, Berkshire


"A. I. F Australia 8022 Pte N. E. Sheldon, 16th Btn, Born Feb 2nd 1897, Died March 31st 1918. And of his brother, Harold Percival Sheldon Born May 5th 1887, Died Jan 5th 1972. Also of Maude beloved wife of Harold born Sept 6th 1888 (death obscured)."

Pte. Norman Edwin

Norman Edwin Sheldon was born on 2nd February 1897 in Gloucestershire, England to parents John Henry Sheldon, a Farmer, and Hettie Elizabeth. Norman can be found on the 1901 Census, aged 4, living with his parents and elder sister May at The Laurels, Rangeworthy Road, Gloucestershire. At that time Harold does not appear to be living with his family.

Harold Percival Sheldon was born on 5th May 1887 in Fredericktown, Canada and can be found living with his parents in his birth town aged 4 on the 1891 Census of Canada

On the 1911 Census Norman can be found as a pupil at Townsend Academy, a private boys' school in Harptree, Somerset. His elder brother Harold, now a Bank Clerk, has since moved to England and is listed as a visitor at his cousin Percy Henry Sheldon's house at 25 Wheelwright Road, Gravely Hill, Erdington, Warwickshire. 

At some point before 1917 Norman and his parents emigrated to Cookernup, a small town in the south of Western Australia, where he worked as a Farmer. On the 8th May 1917, Norman enlisted at Bunbury city in Western Australia, and from there on 5th June 1917 he was sent to the 28th Battalion 21st Reinforcements then on to Machine Gun School on 25th June 1917. On the 18th October 1917, Norman was moved to the 16th Battalion, 27th Reinforcements. On the 31st January 1918 Norman arrived in England to the 13th Training Battalion at Codford Wiltshire, where unfortunately on the 14th March he was taken ill with Measles and Scabies and was admitted to the 3rd New Zealand General Hospital, Codford, a military hospital on the western rim of Salisbury Plain.

Ward at the 3rd New Zealand General Hospital,
Codford, Wiltshire. A postcard from 1917.

Later, on 26th March Norman was transferred to the Sailsbury Isolation Hospital, this time for Scarlet Fever, where he finally succumbed to the disease on 31st March 1918 aged just 21 years. Norman was then buried at All Saint's (Maidenhead) Cemetery in Section A Grave 5Y. 

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In 1916 Harold married Alice Maude Plainstowe in Maidenhead, Berkshire. Alice was born on 6th September 1888 in Wycombe March, Buckinghamshire, to parents John Henry Plaistowe and Edith Mary Ball. In on 10th February1919 Harold and Maude welcome their only child, son Norman John Plaistowe Sheldon, who can be found on the 1939 England and Wales Register as a student at Leicester University, residing at Queen's Hall, student accommodation at the time. Norman passed away on 30th September 1991 at Westminster, Greater London.  Unfortunately, the only record I can find of his wife Hilary Mary is her death on 13th May 2016

Harold and his wife Maude can be found on the 1939 England and Wales Register living at Westmount, 40 Belmont Park Avenue, Maidenhead, Berkshire. Harold occupation listed as a Bank Manager and Maude as Unpaid Domestic Duties. Living with them at Westmount is Maude's mother Edith and 16-year-old Mabel Gammon, their domestic servant.  Harold passed away at Maidenhead on 5th January 1972 aged 84 years. He was followed by his wife Maude in 1973.


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