The Australian Boer War Memorial
Anzac Parade Canberra

Captain (later Lieutenant Colonel) Alfred Norton DSO

Ancestor Details

Name of Ancestor: Alfred Edward Marston Norton

Ancestor's date of birth: 13/06/1869

Ancestor's date of death: 08/06/1922

Cause of Death: Pleurisy

Service Number: Officer - no number

Colony or State of enlistment: SA, Place of Enlistment: Adelaide

Unit: 4th South Australian Imperial Bushmen

Rank attained in Boer War: CAPT, Date Effective: 23/11/1898

Highest Rank attained (if served after war): MAJ, Date Effective: 05/11/1900

Murray Page: 358

Contingent: Fourth South Australian

Ship: Manhattan, Date of Sailing: 01/05/1900

Memorial details: Buried West Terrace cemetery, Adelaide

Decorations: DSO (also held Queen's South Africa Medal with clasps and other awards)

Personal Characteristics: Described as 'a kind officer but a strict disciplinarian' by one of his troopers in 'B' Squadron in a letter home. Highly regarded by his fellow officers and Colonel Rowell, OC 4SAIB. As commander of 'B' squadron he was privately contemptuous of 4SAIB's adjutant, Major Hawker, and the commander of' 'A' squadron. The war correspondent of The Advertiser, Adelaide, referred to him as 'Norton, the Prince of Captains.' Strong family life with wife, Fannie, and five children.

Reasons to go and fight: Unclear but would certainly have included a loyalty to queen and empire. He was born in Shropshire. He was also involved in the South Australian artillery from the 1880s so enlistment would have been a natural step for him. He almost went in the second South Australian contingent but Colonel Gordon did not receive his acceptance until too late.

Details of service in war: Disembarked Port Elizabeth 19 June 1900. In action from about 24 June 1900 near Kroonstad, Orange free State. Constant skirmishing en route to Lindley while escorting a supply convoy. On 3 July 1900 led the charge at Leeuw Kop (sometimes called Bakenkop) near Bethlehem and recaptured 38th RFA guns captured by the Boers. Subsequently awarded DSO for this action. Further skirmishing in the chase after de Wet. On 24 July 1900 at Vredefort he escaped death when bullets passed through his forage cap and lodged in his boot heel, but on the same day his leg was crushed when his horse was shot from under him. Pulled to safety by his troopers. On 4 August 1900 he reluctantly relinquished command of  'B' squadron to Lt Leane and a day later was invalided to Cape Town, expecting to return to active duty. On 23 August 1900, having been told by a medical board that he would not be permitted to return to active service, he was repatriated to South Australia with two hours notice. On arrival in Adelaide on 13 September 1900 he was greeted by huge crowds at the railway station. Promoted to major shortly after his return and following surgery on his leg then assumed command of the training camp for the 5th South Australian Imperial Bushmen.

Service and life after the Boer War: Active in South Australian military forces 1900-1906. Saw no action in the Great War 1914-1918, possibly due to the leg injury and malaria contracted in east Asia in 1909, but attained the brevet rank of Lt Colonel when commanding a remount depot at Keynsham, Somerset. 1906-1914 South Australian Trades Commissioner in London with responsibility for building markets for South Australian produce not only in Britain but across the continent. Travelled widely in Europe in this role. Widely regarded as the best state representative in London. In 1914 he was head hunted by a group of bristol merchants and NZ primary producers to head a new company, Bristol and Dominions Producers Association, which would bypass the port of London and foster trade with Britain via Bristol and other outports such as Hull. Several trips back to Australia 1906 before finally returning in 1920, the company having prospered during the war years but not having survived the post war depression in trade. Died of pleurisy at Berri, in South Australia's riverland, in 1922, a few days before his 53rd birthday.

Descendant Details

Name of Descendant: Anthony John (Tony) Stimson, Aldgate SA
Relationship to Ancestor: Grandson

Name of Descendant: Michael Marston Norton, Erindale SA 5066
Relationship to Ancestor: grandson


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RUSI of NSW Boer War Battlefields