Norman was born in Heaton Norris, the son of Thomas and Belsedha. When the National Census was taken in 1901, the family was living at 53 Penny Lane, Stockport, where 48 year old Thomas earned his living as a labourer. Also in the house was his 17 year old stepdaughter, Mary and their five children - Arnold (13), Georgina (9), Norman (7), Bethsheda (5, known as Bessie) and Evelyn (3). It's thought they would have another daughter who they would call Lena.
At some point Norman married but this did not deter him from volunteering for the army within days of war being declared in August 1914 and will have gone abroad with the newly formed 7th Battalion in July 1915.
In May 1916, the Borderers were in a position known as the "Kink", near "Hill 70" and the village of Mazingarbe. The area had been captured after hard fighting the previous September at the Battle of Loos, in which Norman will have seen his first major attack.
In the early morning of the 11 May, the enemy opened up a heavy bombardment of the front line trenches. This continued all day, playing backwards and forwards between the front and support trench sytems. At 6pm, the barrage became extremely heavy and was followed by a localised attack by German infantry. One shell directly hit Battalion HQ, killing or injuring everyone in the dug-out. The Borderers tried to counter-attack but were unsuccessful and had to completely withdraw from the "Kink", leaving it in enemy hands which they then incorporated into their front line.
22 men were killed during the day, including Norman and Leonard Austin. Both men were originally posted as "missing" and it was not until March 1917 that Norman was confirmed to be dead. Unlike many men posted as missing, their bodies must have been discovered. Perhaps they were buried in the HQ dug-out and were only found, months later, when troops were digging new trenches. The Cemetery in which Leonard & Norman are buried contained only a few graves until after the Armistice. It is likely, therefore, that they were originally buried elsewhere and were re-interred as the small frontline burial areas were returned to civilian use.
The local newspaper, reporting his death, noted that his family was now living at 190 Old Road, Heaton Norris. His brother Arnold was also serving in the army at that time.
By the early 1920s, when the War Graves Commission was collating its casualty information, his widow had remarried and was now Mrs B Lody, living at 42 Lancashire Hill, Stockport.