Family history of military service inspires Jaguar Land Rover employee to volunteer

The more Matthew Patterson Norrie learnt about his family’s remarkable service record in Australia’s Armed Forces, the more his passion grew to be involved as a volunteer at Invictus Games Sydney 2018.

The fact that the 25-year-old from Sydney’s south-west works as an engineer for Jaguar Land Rover – the presenting partner of the Games – was merely the final piece of the puzzle.

“My family’s military service goes back to the Boer War, which was from 1899 to 1902. I think that was my great-great-grandfather,” said Patterson Norrie.

“I had a great uncle and great grandfather who served in World War II, one was a commando and one was an armoured vehicle technician. My brother is currently serving as a recon patrol commander. I’ve got a cousin serving in the Navy… There are quite a few from within my family, it’s a long history and something I’m very proud of,” he said.

Patterson Norrie’s twin, Andrew Norrie, was on active service in Afghanistan when he found out about Invictus Games Sydney 2018, providing extra motivation to show his gratitude and support for Andrew and his colleagues.

“I put my hand up straight away,” said Patterson Norrie. “I wanted to do what I could to help out our returned service people. To a lesser extent, my role with Jaguar Land Rover is defence related, so it all kind of tied in together. It’s my way of supporting my brother and the armed forces and the country.”

Jaguar Land Rover Driving Challenge

Patterson Norrie’s job at Jaguar Land Rover is to maintain the relationship between the company and the Australian Defence Force, and provide engineering support, making him the perfect candidate for questions about the opening event of the Games, the Jaguar Land Rover Driving Challenge, at Cockatoo Island on Saturday 20 October. Held before the Opening Ceremony at the Sydney Opera House that night.

The Challenge is a test of skill and precision and is designed to test driving skills, navigational ability, observation and teamwork using Jaguar vehicles.

The course is designed to encourage team work and competitors will be measured on performances within a maximum allowable time. Though teams are timed, accurate driving and navigation will produce better results than speed alone.

Patterson Norrie reiterated that the Challenge “is all about precision and accuracy, rather than speed, it’s about working smarter rather than harder.”

Events such as the Jaguar Land Rover Driving Challenge will be keenly supported by Patterson Norrie but in the back of his mind will be a much bigger picture.

“I definitely have a lot of pride and respect for our military. I’m especially proud of my brother for his service and he’s good at what he does,” he said.

“To know that he would lay down his life for the good of the country is something pretty special. He puts himself in harm’s way if necessary and I think that’s something quite remarkable.

“To come from a family whose military history goes so far back, I guess it makes me proud, that they’ve decided their life is worth giving up for the greater good of the country we live in and the values that we take for granted a lot of the time.”

Patterson Norrie sees his involvement as a way to thank those who have served, but also to help create a better future for veterans, especially around the issue of “raising awareness of, not only the physical, but also the mental injuries that our service men and women come home with.

“Mental health is such a significant issue in our current climate and, although there are initiatives currently to address it, there are still so many disparities in addressing it adequately, especially among our service people,” he said.

The Invictus Games Sydney 2018 would not be possible without presenting partner Jaguar Land Rover and all of the other valued partners. Get to know them here >>> 

David Sygall
Invictus Games Sydney 2018