Rank: Leading Seaman B3078
Regiment: Royal Naval Reserve, HMS Goliath
HMS Goliath © IWM (Q 74919)
Norman Russell was born in Beer on the 8 October 1882, the son of John Russell, a fisherman, and his wife Ann. Ten years later they had another son, Thomas, who was also to serve in the Great War. Norman joined the Royal Naval Reserve on 1 April 1905. His RNR record gave his height as 5ft 5ins, and stated that he had dark brown eyes and a fair complexion. His occupation was given as ‘rigging at Cardiff docks’.
At the time of the 1911 census Norman was living in Devon Terrace, Grangetown, Cardiff, with his wife Elizabeth and four-year old daughter Irene.
He was mobilised for war service on 3 August 1918 and joined HMS Goliath, a Canopus-class battleship which was part of the Channel Fleet. In September Goliath moved to the East Indies, and in November took part in the operations on the Rufiji River in what is now Tanzania, in an effort to destroy the German cruiser Konigsberg.
In March 1915 Norman transferred briefly to the light cruiser HMS Hyacinth, before joining the armed whaler HMS Fly which patrolled the coastal waters of East Africa. Only two months later 570 of Norman’s former shipmates on Goliath were killed when she was torpedoed in the Dardanelles.
He remained on HMS Fly until December 1917, when he transferred to Defensively Armed Merchant Ships, on which he spent the rest of the war. He was demobilised on 3 March 1919, but stayed in the RNR until 1930, at which time he was a crane driver at Bute Dry Dock, Cardiff.
Norman died in Cardiff in 1973, aged 91.
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