Major General Charles Norie, CB CMG DSO

Major General Charles Edward de Manley Norie was born in 1866, the second son of Major General Evelyn Norie late Indian Staff Corps and elder brother of Major F H Norie 6th Gurkha Rifles.  He was educated at Fettes College and the Royal Military College Sandhurst and married Miss Grace Reynolds OBE.

He was gazetted in 1885 to The King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry and in 1887 transferred to the Indian Staff Corps and was attached to 2nd Regiment (Queen’s Own) Light Infantry.  In 1888 he was attached to the 2nd Goorkhas on probation.  From 1891 to 1896 he was Quartermaster of the 1st Battalion and took part in the Manipur Campaign in 1891.  He was Adjutant from 1896 to 1897.  He was a fine shot and a member of the 1st Battalion’s Shooting Team which won the Officers’ Match at the Bengal Presidency Rifle Association meeting in 1897.

Norie served with distinction with the 1st Bn during the Tirah Campaign of 1897-8.  He participated in operations against the Khani Khel and Chamkannis tribesmen on the Samana Ridge, the Relief of Gulistan, the actions at Chagru Kotal and Dargai, the capture of the Sampagha and Arhanga Passes, operations in the Waran Valley, around Dwatoi and in the Bara Valley.  He distinguished himself on more than one occasion especially during the Battle of Dargai 1897 for being ‘conspicuously forward at the commencement of the action’ , and later in the Waran Valley when he commanded the Rear Guard of
the 3rd Brigade of the Tirah Field Force in the move over the Tseri-Kandao Pass.  For these two actions he was mentioned in despatches and promoted Brevet Major.  During the subsequent march down the Bara Valley when he was again commanding the Rear Guard, he was helping a dhoolie when he was
severely wounded.  His left arm was shattered just below the shoulder and had to be amputated the following afternoon.  This did not prevent him from continuing many of his preferred sports.  According to Lt Col Edward Sweet, in April 1898 Norie, using Sweet’s shotgun, successfully shot four partridges from an elephant howdah – ‘a remarkable feat considering he had lost his left arm in the Tirah less than six months before‘.

On completion of leave he attended the Staff College and in 1900 he took part in the South African War 1899 – 1902 where he was a Special Services Officer on the Lines of Communication including Staff Duties under an Assistant Inspector General.  Afterwards he was on the Staff and titled as a ‘ ‘Commandant ‘ and graded as a Deputy Assistant Adjutant General (DAAG)  Norie was awarded the Distinguished Service Order as well as being mentioned in despatches in September 1901 and again in June 1902 for his work in South Africa.

On his return to India he was appointed Assistant Instructor at the Garrison School, Dalhousie, Lahore until April 1903 when he became officiating DAAG Narbudda District until November 1903.  In early 1904 he became DAAG Eastern Command, an appointment which he held for the next three years.  In July 1907, Norie was transferred to the 2nd Bn as Second in Command and joined it at Dehra Dun from HQ Staff at Naini Tal.  From April 1911 until December 1914 he was Commandant of the 2nd Battalion.  During his command and prior to the outbreak of hostilities of the First World War, Norie started the 2nd dairy and farm at Dehra Dun and did much good work in the Lines in countering soil erosion and the filling-in of nullahs.  In April 1914 Norie was a temporary GSO1 in 8th Division , but he returned to the 2nd Battalion in August 1914 in time to take it to France.  There he commanded it during the two early major actions: the night attack in the orchard near Neuve Chapelle on 2 November (147 casualties including the loss of 7 British and 4 Gurkha officers) for which Norie was mentioned in despatches, and the second at La Quinque Rue on 20 December 1914 (132 casualties including the loss of 1 British and 2
Gurkha officers).  Norie’s younger brother who had retired in 1912, volunteered for active service was attached to the 2nd Battalion as a French interpreter, was severely wounded in the 2 November night attack and was awarded the Distinguished Service Order.

Norie left the 2nd Battalion in January 1915 to become GSO1 Meerut Division and as such took part in the Battles of Neuve Chapelle on 9 March 1915 and Aubers Ridge on 9 -10 May 1915 .He was then appointed Deputy Assistant Quartermaster General (DAQMG) Indian Corps as a Temporary Brigadier General until September 1915 when he was given command of the Bareilly Brigade which took part in the Battle of Loos.  He was mentioned in despatches and awarded the Serbian Order of The White Eagle (3rd Class ) with Swords.  When the India Corps left France, Norie was sent to Mesopotamia where he commanded from January 1916 the 21st (Bareilly) Indian Infantry Brigade as part of the 7th Meerut Division which had been sent from France to reinforce the India Expeditionary Force D which was already in theatre).  His brigade took part in the Battles of Sheik Sa’ad, Wadi , Um elHanna and Sannayat . On two occasions he officiated in command of the 7th Meerut Division and was awarded the Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George and was mentioned in despatches.  He then led his brigade in the advance on Baghdad and its occupation in March 1917 for which he was again mentioned in despatches.

In May 1917 Norie was invalided to India and appointed to command the Poona Brigade from where he retired from the Indian Army in September 1920 and moved to Bovill’s Hall, Ardleigh, Essex.  However, presumably as a result of both his wound and much hard campaigning it was known that Norie spent much time convalescing in Montreux, Switzerland.  He was Colonel of the 2nd Goorkhas from July 1925 until he died in London in July 1929.


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