Frederick James Norris was born in the spring of 1890, one of eight children to Henry and Sarah Norris. Henry was a brewer’s drayman and groom, Sarah a milliner, and together they raised their family in the Somerset town of Yeovil.
When he left school, Frederick found work as a carman and carter, following in his father’s footsteps. Henry had died in 1907, followed by his two older brothers, Alfred in 1911 and Frank in 1912. Frederick, by this time, had met Emily Katherine White, and the couple married in Yeovil Parish Church on 23rd May 1909. They went on to have a daughter, Gwendoline, the following year.
War was fast approaching and, in December 1915, Frederick enlisted, joining the Royal Garrison Artillery as a Gunner. After a few months’ training, he was sent to Columbo, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), where he served for just over a year. During his time there, he had contracted tuberculosis, a condition that ultimately resulted to his return to the UK.
Gunner Norris arrived back in England in August 1917, where he was again admitted to hospital with the respiratory condition. He was ultimately discharged from the army on medical grounds in August of that year.
After leaving the army, Frederick was admitted to a sanitorium, but at this point his trail goes cold. He died on 3rd May 1918, at the age of 28. While the cause of death is not stated, it seems likely to have been as a result of his already debilitated health.
Frederick James Norris was laid to rest in the cemetery in his home town of Yeovil.