Design and construction
The N-class destroyer had a displacement of 1,773 tons at standard load, and 2,550 tons at full load. Norman was 356 feet 6 inches (108.66 m) long overall and 229 feet 6 inches (69.95 m) long between perpendiculars, had a beam of 35 feet 8 inches (10.87 m), and a maximum draught of 16 feet 4 inches (4.98 m). Propulsion was provided by Admiralty 3-drum boilers connected to Parsons geared steam turbines, which provided 40,000 shaft horsepower to the ship's two propellers. Norman was capable of reaching 36 knots (67 km/h; 41 mph). The ship's company consisted of 226 officers and sailors.
The ship's armament consisted of six 4.7-inch QF Mark XII guns in three twin mounts, a single 4-inch QF Mark V gun, a 2-pounder 4-barrel Pom Pom, four 0.5-inch machine guns, four 20 mm Oerlikon anti-aircraft guns, four .303 Lewis machine guns, two Pentad torpedo launcher tube sets (with 10 torpedoes carried), two depth-charge throwers and one depth-charge chute (with 45 charges carried). The 4-inch gun was removed later in Norman's career.
The destroyer was laid down by John I. Thornycroft & Company at Southampton, England on 27 July 1939. She was launched on 30 October 1940. Norman was commissioned into the RAN on 29 September 1941; although operated as an Australian warship, the vessel remained the property of the Royal Navy. The ship takes her name from the Normans, with her ship's badge depicting a Norman warrior's helmet. She was the only N-class destroyer to be given a motto: "Cedere Nescio" or "I Know Not How To Yield". Construction cost 402,939 pounds.