From Life to Immortality

Norman Francis McWaters, 11th Australian Field Ambulance

Corporal McWaters, Brisbane, November 1916

His father's brother Frank McWaters, was already overseas serving with the 8th Light Horse Regiment in the Middle East.

Minnie , Mac and Bob Caldwell, 1916

11th Field Ambulance

By this time the 11th Field Ambulance was operating in the Ploegsteert and Messines areas, evacuating wounded from the forward aid posts to the casualty clearing stations. Stretcher bearers had to carry the wounded over two miles from the front lines, the terrain resembling a quagmire dotted with shell holes.

Duckboard track near Zonnebeke, Ypres sector AWM E01235

Mac was carrying a wounded man on the afternoon of 17th October, on the Zonnebeke Road, when he and three of his colleagues were hit by a shell. Killed outright, his body was brought down and buried in the military cemetery at the back of the prison at Ypres.

The image shown below is taken from very near where his grave is located. 12 months after his death, the family placed a notice in the paper which read:

In proud and sacred memory of Cpl. Norman F. McWaters, and his four comrades, killed in action, battle of Passchendaele, October 17th, 1917. "Just stepped from life to Immortality."

Ypres Reservoir North Cemetery, Plot 1 Row G 67

Known as the Toowoomba Mothers Memorial, constructed in 1922 and bearing the names of fallen soldiers, from throughout the district, the memorial was funded in large part through the proceeds of flower selling. The sweet violet - Toowoomba's floral emblem - was sold in posies to members of the public by grieving mothers of fallen soldiers.

Mothers Memorial, East Creek, Toowoomba

"TO THE MEMORY OF THE GALLANT MEN WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES IN THE GREAT WAR 1914 TO 1918 FOR THE SAKE OF FREEDOM AND JUSTICE"

The original photographs of Corporal McWaters were located in a large family collection donated by the descendants of the Caldwell Family.

Further Reading:

Marg Powell

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