Norman was born in 1893 at Jerek and entered the Victorian School of Forestry (VSF) but did not graduate.
Norman signed up in Bendigo in March 1916 with the 38 battalion (#750). He joined with his brother Alexander Cosmo McDonald (#751). They both embarked from Melbourne on board HMAT A54 Runic on 20 June 1916.
Norman rose the rank of sergeant and was wounded in France in 1917, and again in 1918. He returned to Australia 31 March 1919.
His brother Alexander was killed in October 1917 at Passchendaele
Norman returned to farming after the war. He died in July 1973 at Culgoa.