Frean enlisted at South Melbourne on 19 August 1914. He was 22 years old, unmarried, and his occupation was bicycle builder. He had been born in South Melbourne. He married on 3 September 1914.
Frean served as a sapper with the 1st Signal Troop (1st Light Horse Brigade). He sailed on 20 October 1914 aboard the HMAT Karroo A10.
|Troops on board HMAT Karroo (A10) prior to departure with well-wishers on the wharf holding paper streamers connecting them to men on the ship. 18 September 1916. Australian War Memorial ID PB0507|
On 31 May 1915 Frean was wounded by shrapnel at Gaba Tepe, Gallipoli. He was wounded again in June and repatriated to Melbourne. He was discharged from the AIF in early 1916.
It is not clear from his dossier held by the National Archives of Australia what his connection to Avoca was. (National Archives of Australia: Australian Imperial Force, Base Records Office; B2455, First Australian Imperial Force Personnel Dossiers, 1914-1920; Frean Norman Alfred : SERN 26 : POB Melbourne VIC : POE Melbourne VIC : NOK Frean Mrs E A)
There are also no clues in the digitised newspaper collection at Trove.nla.gov.au. However, on the 1919 electoral roll Norman Alfred Frean, mechanic, was recorded as living at Bealiba, a town 38 kilometres north of Avoca. His post-war connection to the Avoca community meant that he was remembered on the A. N. A. soldiers' honor board.