Steele, Second Lieutenant Norman Leslie

No 67 (Australian) Sqn RFC

Norman Steele came from Kew, Victoria, where he was born on 6 December 1895. On 8 February 1916, he was a Warehouseman, who had served in the Melbourne University Rifles and the AMF Artillery, when he joined the AFC in Melbourne. He left from Melbourne on HMAT A67 Orsova on 16 March, and was posted to No 67 (Australian) Sqn in Egypt. He was commissioned on 27 October, and commenced flying training at Aboukir, Egypt, in December. In March 1917 he qualified as a pilot, and was posted back to his old squadron.

On 17 April he took part in a night raid on Ramleh aerodrome, where his bombs smashed two hangars, and on 19 April he and Lt Murray Jones met five German aeroplanes and fought them until both Australians’ machine guns jammed.

He was killed in action at Hareira on 20 April 1917 while flying either Martinsyde G100 7472 (Airmen Died in the Great War) or G102 A1583 (The Sky Their Battlefield) [contemporary records include the phrase ‘Martinsyde Super Scout’ when referring to 2Lt Steele’s aeroplane, so it seems likely that it was a G102] on a bombing mission against Turkish cavalry at Tel-el-Sherira. After dropping his bombs, he and another pilot were patrolling the area when his Martinsyde went into a nose dive and crashed. On 14 July an enemy aeroplane dropped a message to inform the AFC that 2Lt Steele had been hit by anti-aircraft fire and died soon after landing behind enemy lines. The Germans buried him at Hareira, but the location of the grave was subsequently lost.

2Lt N L Steele has no known grave and is commemorated on Panel 60 of the Jerusalem Memorial, Palestine.

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