The Soldier's Details
- First Name:
- Norman Leslie
- Nick Name:
- Regimental #:
- ‘C’ Company
- Place of Birth:
- York, Western Australia
- Father's Name:
- Thomas Henry Ablett
- Mothers's Name:
- Linda Doris Ablett
- Church of England
- Pre-war Occupation:
- Builder’s Labourer
- Selarang Camp Changi
- ‘A’ Force Burma, Green Force, No. 3 Battalion
- Camps Japan:
- Fukuoka sub‐Camp No.17, Omuta
- Awa Maru Party, Kumi No. 41
- Return Details 1945:
- Nagasaki‐Okinawa‐Manila, USS Cape Gloucester, Manila‐Morotai‐Darwin PBY Catalina aircraft A24-306, Darwin‐Perth by aircraft 10.10.1945.
Norm was the eldest of three children born to parents Harry Ablett and Iris Martin who lived in Subiaco. Harry Ablett was a telegraphist for GPO.
Sadly Iris Ablett died before Norm was 10 years old. His father subsequently remarried to Linda Eacott from Mandurah.
Norm spent most of his childhood years with his siblings in Osborne Park where they worked on a poultry farm their father ran in Main Street to starve off the effects of the Depression. The children lived a hardy upbringing between farm work and play.
In 1937 his father Harry was transferred to Bunbury as postmaster. Norm who was employed as a plaster-fixer remained in Perth until he enlisted in 1940.
Norm Ablett for many years, in fact right up until his death owned and operated a hardware store in South Fremantle. He was always happy to receive a visit from his 2/4th mates and enjoyed a chat.
Norm remained a bachelor and died in 2010 aged 92 years.
Others not in order: Margarita Mahoney, Lew Lonsdale, Bobbie Bates, Joyce Murdoch, Wally Lynn, Harry & Lynn Norris, Cowboy & Marion Matthews.
Norm spent his POW years on the Thai-Burma Railway and in Japan.
He spoke little of his ordeal after he returned to WA except to say the coalmines provided good air-raid shelters when US attacked Japan. Also the constant malnutrition left Norm with permanent eye damage.
This did not stop him from establishing himself as a shopkeeper and entrepreneur. He started a concrete manufacturing business with his mate Jack Fitzgerald (a former German POW). Because they required plumbing fittings and other hardware for troughs and tanks they made they opened Swan Hardware in 1948, in Hampden Road, Beaconsfield. The business expanded and Norm purchased neighbouring land and properties. He bought out his partner in 1966.
Norm was such an unassuming man few shoppers realized the man cleaning the floors and/or shuffling through nuts and bolts was in fact the storeowner.
Norm was always a generous man and wanting Swan Hardware to continue, he gifted the business to the shop manager Maria Sciano.
Normie passed away aged 92yrs, August 8 2010, at South Fremantle, WA.