Sunday, 24 July 2016 22:47



norbert earl 1

Michael Kearney has found the following quotes. With thanks to him.

Norbert Earl was born in 1911, professed in 1931 and ordained at the end of 1936 - which meant that when the episodes below took place, he was only 31. He spent 31 years in PNG, 17 on the distant Rossell Island. There is a report that he buried 350 men while military chaplain.  When he was presented with the MBE for bravery under fire, he said it stood for 'Mad Bloody Earl[. There is a plaque from his soldiers in the Croydon Chapel, now the parish Church of Croydon.



Quotations from Those Ragged Bloodied Heroes, from the Kokoda Trail to Gona Beach 1942 by Peter Brune.

Captain Jacob relieved an exhausted young man of the burden of his rifle during the night of 30 – 31 August. Unbeknown to Jacob, the safety catch on the rifle was not “on” and as Jacob slipped over a tree root the rifle discharged a bullet which hit him in the groin. Padre Earl, a Catholic priest, read the Anglican Last Rights as Jacob’s life passed.   P.170.


Private Hourigan came in from the forward listening-post to warn of an impending attack. He went back to his post to be killed when the attack was launched; it was repulsed, with two enemy corpses left in view. Chaplain Earl went forward with a spade to bury the brave Hourigan. P.102-103.


 Sgt Buchecker was wounded in the leg, suffering a shattered side. Displaying the usual standard of compassion and selflessness, Chaplain L and the RMO captain Shera, moved out to the sound of the guns through the enemy-infested jungle, and carried Buchecker back to safety.  P.129


13/8/42.Left 06:00 hours. Arrived W. T. Station 12:00 hours. Still no food. Peter Brewer still able to move feet but unable to stand. Most troops tired but still a fighting force. Little ammo. Father Earl had a long stick in one hand and Rosary in the other. He shivered every time a mortar went off in the hills. Then he said to carriers “come on, they won’t hit us”, and the carriers followed him. We raided line and shared a tin of salmon with every two men. Cut my tongue licking tin. Hell, I was hungry.…  P.89, quoting diary of Warrant Officer J.D.Wilkinson.

The Company was doomed to be turned back by a vastly superior force. Captain Shera had selfless and devoted help that day. Chaplain Earl assisted Shera and comforted the wounded by giving them cigarettes taken from the Japanese.


And, best of all:

“Father, Nobby to us heretics, and whom he liked to be called by us who were not of his faith; never have I met a man who has made such an impression on me by his absolute, simple faith; and if I was asked to say what my definition of a thoroughly happy man was I would say Nobby Earl. He owned nothing and yet he owned the world. P.76. Major M.I.Bidstrup, interview 14 January 1986.