Willoughby Norrie, 1st Baron Norrie: Wikis


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The Lord Norrie 

Sir Willoughby Norrie (right) meeting Prime Minister Ben Chifley (left) and Premier of South Australia Tom Playford (centre)

In office
19 December 1944 – 19 June 1952
Monarch George VI (1944-1952)
Elizabeth II (1952)
Premier Sir Thomas Playford
Preceded by Sir Malcolm Barclay-Harvey
Succeeded by Sir Robert George

In office
2 December 1952 – 25 July 1957
Monarch Elizabeth II
Premier Sidney Holland
Preceded by The Lord Freyberg
Succeeded by The Viscount Cobham

Nationality British
Military service
Allegiance United Kingdom
Years of service 31 years
Rank Lieutenant General
Battles/wars World War I
World War II
Awards GCMG (1952)[1]
GCVO (1954)[2]
KCMG (1944)[3]
CB (1942)[4]
DSO (1918)[5]
MC (1915)[6]
MC (1917)[7]
Mention in despatches(1915)[8]
Mention in despatches (1918)
Knight of the Venerable Order of St. John (1945)[9]
Other appointments:Colonel of 10th Hussars;[10] Colonel of the Royal Armoured Corps[11] Chancellor of the Order of St. Michael and St. George (1960-1968)[12][13]

Lieutenant-General Charles Willoughby Moke Norrie, 1st Baron Norrie GCMG, GCVO, CB, DSO, MC and Bar (26 September 1893 – 25 May 1977) was a British Army general during World War II, following which he served terms as Governor of South Australia and Governor-General of New Zealand.


Army career

After education at Eton and at the Royal Military College, Sandhurst he was commissoned into the 11th Hussars in 1913.[14] He served in World War I where he was awarded the DSO, the MC twice, was twice mentioned in dispatches, and was wounded four times. He became, successively, a Staff Captain in the 73rd Infantry Brigade; third General Staff Officer in the XVIIIth Army Corps; Brigade Major in the 90th Infantry Brigade, and in the 2nd Tank Brigade; and second General Staff Officer in the 2nd Tank Corps. In January 1919 he changed his name by deed poll from Moke-Norrie to Norrie.[15]

Between the wars he had a number of regimental and staff postings interrupted by a year at Staff College in 1924.[16] In 1931 he was promoted to lieutenant-colonel and took command of the 11th Hussars[17] after which he was placed on the half-pay (inactive) list although promoted to full colonel in 1935.[18] In January 1936, still on the half pay list, Norrie took part in the funeral procession for King George V as one of the "Representative Colonels-Commandant and Colonels of His late Majesty's Regiments".[19] In April 1936 he was appointed to command the 1st Cavalry Brigade as a temporary brigadier[20] His brigade was mechanised in 1938 and re-designated 1st Light Armoured Brigade, becoming the 1st Armoured Brigade in 1940.

On the outbreak of World War II Norrie continued to serve as commander of 1st Armoured Brigade. In April 1940 the brigade was part of 2nd Armoured Division which he was given temporary command of for a month between appointments of permanent commanders. Following this he was appointed acting major-general[21] and became Inspector of the Royal Armoured Corps. Four months later he became GOC 1st Armoured Division and was promoted to the permanent rank of major-general in June 1941.[22] In November 1941 the division was ordered to Egypt where Norrie found himself appointed acting lieutenant-general[23] to command XXX Corps in the place of Vivyan Pope who had died in an air crash shortly before Norrie's arrival in Egypt.[24] He commanded XXX Corps during Operation Crusader with some success but his tanks suffered a heavy defeat at the Battle of Gazala in June 1942. He was criticised for his "cavalry" approach to armoured warfare and Eighth Army commander Claude Auchinleck replaced him in July. He returned to Britain to be appointed Commander of the Royal Armoured Corps in which role he was to give advice on armoured warfare to Bernard Paget, the C-in-C Home Forces. He continued as Paget's advisor when Paget became commander of 21st Army Group on its formation in July 1943 but when Bernard Montgomery assumed command early in 1944, he brought his own advisor.[25] In April 1944 Norrie was appointed Head of the Military Mission to the French Committee of National Liberation (CFLN) in Algiers, a post he held until the middle of 1944 when he was proposed by the Secretary of State for the Dominions to become Governor of South Australia.[26]

Norrie retired from the army in September 1944 to take up his post as Governor of South Australia. Although his substantive rank at this time was still major-general, he was given the honorary rank of lieutenant-general in retirement.[27]

Post-army career

Norrie served as the Governor of South Australia between 1944 and 1952, having been knighted KCMG. In 1945 he was made a Knight of St. John, an award normally associated with public and charitable works. His KCMG was promoted to GCMG when he was appointed Governor-General of New Zealand in 1952, in which position he served until 1957. During his tenure he was made GCVO for personal services to the Queen. On leaving office he was created a peer in 1957 as Baron Norrie, of Wellington in the Dominion of New Zealand and of Upton in the County of Gloucester.[28][29] From 1960 to 1968 he was Chancellor of the Order of Saint Michael and Saint George.



  • The Biographical Dictionary of British Generals of The Second World War, Nick Smart. ISBN 1-84415-049-6

External links


  1. ^ London Gazette: no. 39610, p. 4075, 1952-07-29. Retrieved on 2009-06-23.
  2. ^ London Gazette: no. 40103, p. 1007, 1954-02-16. Retrieved on 2009-06-23.
  3. ^ London Gazette: no. 36651, p. 3724, 1944-08-11. Retrieved on 2009-06-23.
  4. ^ London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 35697, p. 3945, 1942-09-08. Retrieved on 2009-06-23.
  5. ^ London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 31092, p. 19, 1918-12-31. Retrieved on 2009-06-23.
  6. ^ London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 29202, p. 6119, 1915-06-22. Retrieved on 2009-06-23.
  7. ^ London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 30308, p. 9971, 1917-09-25. Retrieved on 2009-06-23.
  8. ^ London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 29200, p. 5982, 1915-06-18. Retrieved on 2009-06-23.
  9. ^ London Gazette: no. 36875, p. 183, 1945-01-02. Retrieved on 2009-06-23.
  10. ^ London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 37848, p. 221, 1947-01-07. Retrieved on 2009-06-23.
  11. ^ London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 38651, p. 3175, 1949-06-28. Retrieved on 2009-06-23.
  12. ^ London Gazette: no. 42128, p. 5866, 1960-08-26. Retrieved on 2009-06-23.
  13. ^ London Gazette: no. 44685, p. 10433, 1968-09-27. Retrieved on 2009-06-23.
  14. ^ London Gazette: no. 28687, p. 845, 1913-02-04. Retrieved on 2009-06-23.
  15. ^ London Gazette: no. 31143, p. 1302, 1919-01-24. Retrieved on 2009-06-23.
  16. ^ London Gazette: no. 32901, p. 773, 1924-01-25. Retrieved on 2009-06-23.
  17. ^ London Gazette: no. 33733, p. 4439, 1931-07-07. Retrieved on 2009-06-23.
  18. ^ London Gazette: no. 34177, p. 4343, 1935-07-05. Retrieved on 2009-06-23.
  19. ^ London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 34279, p. 2768, 1936-04-29. Retrieved on 2009-06-23.
  20. ^ London Gazette: no. 34274, p. 2452, 1936-04-14. Retrieved on 2009-06-23.
  21. ^ London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 34944, p. 5471, 1940-09-10. Retrieved on 2009-06-23.
  22. ^ London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 35192, p. 3440, 1941-06-13. Retrieved on 2009-06-23.
  23. ^ London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 35377, p. 7043, 1941-12-09. Retrieved on 2009-06-23.
  24. ^ Mead, p. 323
  25. ^ Mead, p.326.
  26. ^ Mead, p. 327.
  27. ^ London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 36704, p. 4307, 1944-09-15. Retrieved on 2009-06-23.
  28. ^ London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 41089, p. 3367, 1957-06-04. Retrieved on 2009-06-23.
  29. ^ London Gazette: no. 41161, p. 5053, 1957-08-27. Retrieved on 2009-06-23.
Government offices
Preceded by
Sir Malcolm Barclay-Harvey
Governor of South Australia
Succeeded by
Sir Robert George
Preceded by
The Lord Freyberg
Governor-General of New Zealand
Succeeded by
The Viscount Cobham
Peerage of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
New Creation
Baron Norrie
Succeeded by
George Norrie


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