Norman D. Nairn

Male, (1895 - 1968)
FatherDavid Matthewson Nairn (1863 - 1924)
MotherHannah Maria Farmar (1869 - 1949)
Relationship2nd great-grandson of Thomas F. Farmar
ChartsFarmar Descendants
BirthNorman D. Nairn was born 1895 in Blenheim, Marlborough, New Zealand. 
INFO CIV REG INDEX NZ Birth. 1865 Nairn, Norman #593 [MarQ Wairau]. (NZCivRegInd LDS6341153.) 
INFO PASSENGER LIST INDEX. Database of passengers departing England lists 18 trips for Norman (or Norman D) Nairn in the period 1922 through 1938. For one trip in 1923, Elsie Nairn has the same index entry, from London to Egypt Port Said. For the other seventeen trips, all to New York, there is no corresponding entry in the index for Elsie Nairn. (PassLeavUK index) Note: no entries in the index for Gerald Nairn. Also note two other entries for Norman Nairns of the wrong age. (PassLeavUK.) 
INFO COMPANY SUMMARY. Article written by Nick Baldwin in about 2005 describes the accomplishments of the Nairn brothers and the equipment they used. One comment from 1923: "A Beirut newspaper commented that the Nairns had done more to unite Syria and Iraq in a year than all the politicians in Arabia and Europe had ever achieved..." (BaldDesStorm.) 
INFO NAIRN TRANSPORT ADVERTISING PAMPHLETS. A map of the overland mail route beween Haifa and Baghdad which was initiated in 1923 and a pamphlet showing the cars used on the route are displayed on an internet website "Rainer's Overland Mail Baghdad Haifa Pages". Other articles and items related to the Nairn Transport Company are also shown on the website. (RainOverland.) 
INFO NEWS. Times (London) 22 May 1923. Norman Nairn founder of Nairn Transport Corp, carries mail between Egypt and Syria intends to establish a regular weekly service between Haifa and Baghdad in the autumn. Has a new 5-year contract with Baghdad Post Office for a weekly mail service to Port Said at a rate that is cheaper than air mail. (TimesLondDig 22 May 1923 p.11D.) 
INFO NEWS. 31 May 1923. Former New Zealand officer Norman D. Nairn has completed a trial trip across the Syrian desert by motor-car. Plans developing to establish a quick land route from Mediteranean to Baghdad and India. Came directly to London from Beruit for impending marriage. (TimesLondDig 31 May 1923 p.13A.) 
MarriageHe married Elsie Macdonald Barclay 1923 in England. 
INFO CIV REG INDEX Marriage JunQ 1923 Nairn, Norman spouse: Barclay Barnet 3a,814. (GBCivRegInd LDS6102843.) 
INFO NEWS. 14 JUL 1923. Front page story in New York Times. News of Norman D. Nairn of Nairn Transportation Co. in N.Y. to purchase 6 cars to initiate regular automobile service between Haifa to Bagdad across the Persian Desert. Then voyage of 15 days from N.Y. to Bagdad will be possible. The run across the desert, 450 miles, to be made in less than 12 hours. Nairn recently granted mail concession by Mesopotamian govt. Route from Haifa to Damascus and straight east to Bagdad. Will make Mesopotamia closer to Europe for commercial and tourist benefit. Opens desert area to irrigation. Cars to travel at 75 mph. Norman & brother Gerald, Edward Lovell have made five crossings, the first on 1 April. Also has contract with an Arab trader. Cars specially made to carry 3 passengers and extra petrol tanks. (NYTimes 14 July 1923, p.1.) 
INFO LETTER TO EDITOR of Times (London) pub. 19 Aug 1924 from Norman Nairn of the Nairn Transport Co, address Freston Tower, Finchley. Notes that the Overland Mail Motor Car. Service began Oct 1923 and has carried 900 passengers to date in specially constructed Cadillac and Buick cars. (TimesLondDig 19 Aug 1934 p.6C.) 
INFO NEWS. 22 Jan 1925 - Norman Nairn mentioned in article about mail service to Baghdad. (TimesLondDig 22 Jan 1935 p.11A.) 
INFO NEWS. Mr. Norman Nairn has crossed Syrian Desert with two Cadillac cars from Jerusalem via Amman in 32 hours, 700 miles. Route covered with Palestine official. Some road work and repairs necessary before estab. of regular mail convoys. (TimesLondDig 30 May 1925 p.11B.) 
INFO HONOURS LIST. 3 July 1926. Order of the British Empire ("to be dated 5 June 1926"). Officers of the Civil Division. "Norman Nairn, Esq., for services in connection with the organization of the Trans-Desert Motor Route between Iraq and the Mediterranean." (LonGazetteAr 3 Jul 1926, p.4415.) 
INFO MARMON-HERRINGTON built a 40-passenger articulated coach for Nairn Brothers 1932 which was still used during WWII by the Royal Air Force. Some additional informaiton about the Nairn company and considerable information about Marmon-Herrington is included in this ad for a Marmon bus, originally built for the UCLA geology department, for sale on CraigsList Los Angeles as of 9 Sept 2007. (MarmonBusCrg.) 
INFO MARMON-HERRINGTON trucks in Iraq. Article by Gary Bricken, Iraqi Trucking History, on website for truckers 2003 notes Marmon-Herrrington trucks were used by the Nairns starting in 1932. Includes photos and other notes about the history of the Nairn company. (IraqTruck Bricken.) 
INFO NEWS. 2 Apr 1943. Mr. Jones, NZ Minister of Defence, is visiting troops in Palestine and Syria. Returned to Cairo. Was guest of Norman Nairn "famous throughout the Middle East for the desert transport system, of which he was the originator and operator." (TimesLondDig 2 Apr 1943, p.3D.) 
MarriageNorman D. Nairn married Varina Stone 1945. 
INFO HONOURS LIST. 10 June 1948. Order of the British Empire -- Ordinary Commanders of the Civil Div. Norman Nairn, OBE, Managing Director of Nairn Transport, Beirut. (LonGazette 10 Jun 1948 p.3383.) 
INFO HONORS for King's birthday 1948 include for Order of the British Empire, C.B.E. to N. Nairn, Man. Dir. Nairn Transport, Beirut. (TimesLond, 10 Jun 1948, p.5.) 
MarriageNorman D. Nairn married Muriel ...?... 1960. 
INFO BIOGRAPHY. Extensive biographical article on the Nairn brothers, by Maurice Hendry. "The Cadillac versus the Camel," partly based on an interview with Gerald Nairn, originally published in "Veteran and Vintage Magazine," probably in the 1960s. (Fuchs-online.) 
INFO BIOGRAPHY. 1966 Encyclopaedia of New Zealand. Norman Nairn, C.B.E. (1894- ) Retired company director. "Norman Nairn was born on 19 November 1894 at Blenheim, New Zealand, the eldest son of David Mathewson Nairn, a medical practitioner. After serving with the New Zealand Forces during the First Wold War he and his brother formed the famous Nairn Transport Co. Ltd., of Beirut, which instituted a regular passenger service between Beirut (Lebanon), Damascus (Syria), and Baghdad (Iraq). Until the late 1950s Norman Nairn was managing director of the company. In 1926 he was awarded the O.B.E. (Civil) and the C.B.E.(Civil) in 1948. He lives in retirement at Beirut." (EncNZ66Expat.) 
INFO ARTICLE in Saudi Aramco World magazine. Sep/Oct 1966. On a Bus to Baghad by Fuad Rayen. Rayen describes 19-hour trip from Damascus to Baghad on a Nairn bus. Includes history of the company. (SaudAramWor 17(5) Sep/Oct 1966) This article is also quoted on the website "Overland Mail Baghdad Haifa Pages: The Nairns of New Zealand. Website: 
DeathNorman D. Nairn died 20 September 1968 in Guildford, Surrey, England. 
INFO-5gen DEATH NOTICE Times 23 Sep 1968. Nairn -- on 20th September 1968 at Mount Alvernia, Guildford, after a short illness bravely borne, Norman Nairn, C.B.E., aged 73, of Beirut, Lebanon, beloved husband of Muriel and . . .[names deleted] . . .. Funeral service at Guildford Crematorium, 11:30, Wed, 25 Sep. Family flowers only. Letters c/oEaton [?] Hall, Godalming, Surrey. (TimesLondDig 23 Sep 1968 p 16B.) 
INFO OBITUARY. 25 Sep 1968. Norman Nairn, C.B.E. d. at Guildford on Fri., pioneer in desert transport in the Middle East, age 73. Born 1894 in N.Z., joined British Army. Served in Palestine. After war, he and brother Gerald went into business carrying passengers and mail. Nairn Transport Co.formed 1923. Drove where roads scarcely existed. Set up first Damascus-Baghdad bus service, in 12 hours, carrying Royal Mail. Received O.B.E. for this service. Worked for Allied cause in WWII. Received C.B.E. in 1945. After war, company given to employees. Brothers parted. Norman lived a few years in Bermuda and France. Returned to Lebanon to live. Did philanthropic work there and was champion of individual rights. Leaves a widow. Has two children by first marriage. (TimesLond, 25 Sep 1968, p.12.) 
INFO PROBATE FILE LOCATION. Archives New Zealand. Blenheim High Court. Annual single number probate case files. Nairn, Norman David 1973-1973. agency ADBY; series 17544, accession W5411; box/item 107; record no. 32/1973. Held at Wellington. (ArchNZArchwy.) 
INFO BIOG INFO from book The Nairn Way. Info from Mrs. Muriel Nairn in Beruit Oct 1979. Norman Nairn was driving force of Nairn Transport Co. Brother Gerald lived most of time in Baghdad. In 1920s and early 1930s Norman Nairns lived at Church House in Beruit, now St. George's Club. Nairn Transport Co. ran huge trailer-type buses across desert. Upon retirement of brothers, company given to employees. Father David Mathewson Nairn one of first in NZ to own a car. Norman intelligent; Gerald practical, good with hands. Before 1914, bros had cycle business after school. Both bros in WWI. 1919 had auto business in Beruit which failed. Gerald to N.Z. after 1946 retirement. Norman traveled, built villa on Mediterranean in Lebanon. Norman founder of St.George's social club. 1960 married for 3rd time (2 divorces prev.) Muriel & Norman in Beruit until shortly before his death from cancer in Guildford, Engl, Sep 20 1968. Muriel still in Lebanon to 1979. (NairnWay.) 
INFO ARTICLE in Saudi Aramco World magazine, Jul/Aug 1981 by John M. Munro. The Nairn Way. History of the Nairn Transport Company. (SaudAramWor 32(4):19-24 Jul/Aug 1981.) 
INFO NAIRN TRANSPORT COMPANY PAPERS donated in Oct 1987 by Muriel Nairn to the Oxford University St. Antony's College Middle East Centre. Personal information in the file summary: "Joined British Army 1914; served with Allenby in Palestine.... Married 1) Miss Barclay: 2 children (Peter and Lorna), 2) Mrs. Varina Stone.". Archive number: GB154-0215 Nairn - contains press cuttings, photos, employee list, Norman obituary. (OxMEastCtr GB165-0215.) 
INFO INTERNET NEWSLETTER of ASTENE: Assn for Study of Travel in Egypt and the Near East. Dec 2005: discussion of the Nairn business from several correspondents who remembered the buses. (ASTENEBull Dec05.)