SOUTH-AFRICA-EASTERN-CAPE-L ArchivesArchiver > SOUTH-AFRICA-EASTERN-CAPE > 2005-12 > 1134340179
From: "Becky Horne" <>
Subject: Fw: [ZA-EC] EC-recipient of Victoria Cross - NORTON
Date: Mon, 12 Dec 2005 00:29:39 +0200
Have received one of the nicest mails ever and I have to share this with
Is there anyone out there that would be willing to assist Ian?
Yes, I know that Gerard NORTON might still be living and we are not allowed
to use Rootsweb mailing lists for tracing the living. But can I bend the
rules just a tiny bit please? After all it is Christmas.
If any subscriber feels that I'm really pushing it as EC's List Owner and
using my authority to post this message, please forgive me for allowing my
emotions to get the better of me. My intentions are sincere and I just want
to help Ian bring a bit of cheer into a man's life that has lost so much. I
hope you will understand my sentiments.
Thank you for caring.
----- Original Message -----
From: "carruthers - home" <>
To: "Becky Horne" <>
Sent: Sunday, December 11, 2005 7:22 AM
Subject: [ZA-EC] EC-recipient of Victoria Cross - NORTON
> Hello Becky
> Do you know which home Gerald NORTON is in.
> with ref. to your article below - would like to invite him out on Xmas day
> if he is able , as have another distant relative coming from BS Leon home
> perhaps would make good company for each other.
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Becky Horne" <>
> To: <>
> Sent: Saturday, March 12, 2005 10:05 AM
> Subject: [ZA-EC] EC-born soldier was proud recipient of Victoria Cross -
> > Herald, 14 Jan 2003
> > EC-born soldier was proud recipient of Victoria Cross
> > Doug ALEXANDER has tracked down South Africa's last surviving Victoria
> > Cross holder, Gerard NORTON, formerly of East London. Gerard Ross "Toys"
> > NORTON, South Africa's last surviving Victoria Cross holder, is alive
> > and well in troubled Zimbabwe. Like others, however, he has had to quit
> > his land. NORTON, contemplating his fate in modern Zimbabwe, told me: "I
> > never thought that at the age of 87 I would become a Bedouin without a
> > home." He is living temporarily in a retirement village in Harare.
> > The Victoria Cross, or VC, is the highest award bestowed by the British
> > Commonwealth for acts of conspicuous gallantry in the face of the enemy.
> > It was instituted by Queen Victoria in 1856 and reached its peak of fame
> > at the Battle of Rorke's Drift, in Kwazulu Natal in 1879, when 11 VCs
> > were awarded on a single day.
> > South Africans won four VCs in the Second World War. They were Flight
> > Lieutenant John NETTLETON of the Royal Air Force (RAF), in a bomber raid
> > on occupied Europe in 1942; Sergeant Quentin SMYTHE, of the Royal Natal
> > Carabineers, in a skirmish in Libya in 1942; "Toys" NORTON in 1944 and
> > Captain Edwin SWALES, of Durban, in a pathfinder raid over Europe, while
> > seconded from the South African Air Force to the RAF, in 1945.
> > NORTON's adventurous war exploits dated from the North African campaign
> > in 1942 when "Toys", a sergeant in the East London regiment Kaffrarian
> > Rifles (now the Buffalo Volunteer Rifles), won the Military Medal (MM)
> > for his enterprising escape from Tobruk. This was after its capture by
> > German Field Marshal ROMMEL's rampant Afrika Korps on June 21, 1942.
> > Only 405 Allied officers and men took a chance and escaped from the
> > besieged 33 000-strong Tobruk garrison.
> > NORTON and his officer friend, Lieutenant Lawrence "Bill" BAILLIE, who
> > had worked for the same East London bank as NORTON before the war, took
> > over an abandoned Allied truck and, after 38 days, reached the El
> > Alamein line, to which the routed British Eighth Army had withdrawn from
> > Tobruk. The South African pair bluffed their way past ROMMEL's Italian
> > troops by speaking Afrikaans, which the Italians mistook for German. For
> > their courage and initiative BAILLIE was awarded the Military Cross and
> > NORTON the Military Medal (MM).
> > NORTON, who was clearly officer material, was commissioned after the
> > desert campaign and seconded by South African military headquarters to
> > the British Hampshire Regiment in Italy. In September 1944, while
> > leading his British infantrymen against a German strong-point on a
> > mountain side near Rimini, NORTON single-handily knocked out two German
> > machine-gun posts, which were thwarting the Hampshire's advance, killing
> > or capturing all 18 Germans manning them. NORTON himself was wounded in
> > the attack. For his gallantry NORTON was awarded the Victoria Cross. His
> > feat also won him the freedom of his proud home town, East London.
> > NORTON, an 1820 Settler descendent, was known as Toys since childhood.
> > His mother said he was so small he was "like a toy". But he grew in size
> > and before the Second World War played first league rugby in East
> > London, as his cauliflower ears testify. He came under the spell of
> > Zimbabwe when it was Rhodesia, during a schools rugby tour in the 1930s,
> > and vowed to settle there one day.
> > Immediately after the Second World War he fulfilled his ambition, first
> > as a tobacco grower on a farm he carved out of the Rhodesian bush. He
> > later switched to cotton, maize and hay farming, when he found tobacco
> > planting too demanding. His twin sister, Olga, who nursed with the South
> > African nursing corps in the Second World War, also settled in Rhodesia.
> > "Toys" lost his wife, Lilla, from cancer two years ago. They have three
> > daughters, one of whom migrated to Australia 17 years ago. One daughter
> > lives in Harare and another in Benoni, South Africa.
> > Captain NORTON, VC, MM, emerged from the Second World War as one of
> > South Africa's most decorated soldiers.
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