7 September 1915|
Herschel, Eastern Cape, South Africa
|Died||29 October 2004
||South African Army|
|Unit||Kaffrarian Rifles attached to Hampshire Regiment|
|Other work||Tobacco farmer|
Gerard Ross Norton VC MM (7 September 1915 – 29 October 2004) was a South African recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.
Educated at Selborne College, East London (where he acquired his nickname) he was a keen sportsman excelling at cricket, rugby and tennis. After school, he joined Barclays bank at Umtata. After a short spell in the Johannesburg branch of the bank, he returned to East London. The hostel at Selborne College is named in his honour.
Norton's peace-time military training was done with the Middelandse Regiment, but after the outbreak of the Second World War he was transferred to the Kaffrarian Rifles in East London. In 1943, he transferred in to the 1/4th Battalion, Hampshire Regiment (later the Royal Hampshire Regiment)
On 31 August 1944 during the attack on Montegridolfo, Italy, Lieutenant Norton's platoon was pinned down by heavy fire. On his own initiative and with complete disregard for his own safety, he advanced alone and attacked the first machine-gun emplacement, killing the crew of three. He then went on to the second position containing two machine-guns and 15 riflemen, and wiped out both machine-gun nests, killing or taking prisoner the remainder of the enemy. Throughout these attacks he was continuously under fire from a self-propelled gun, nevertheless he calmly went on to lead his platoon against the remaining enemy positions.
He later achieved the rank of Captain.
- Condell, Diana (4 November 2004). "Military UK, South Africa (News), World news, UK news, Africa (News)". The Guardian. London.
- "Captain Gerard Norton, VC". The Daily Telegraph. London. 2 November 2004.
- "No. 36764". The London Gazette (Supplement). 24 October 1944. pp. 4899–4900.
- British VCs of World War 2 (John Laffin, 1997)
- Monuments to Courage (David Harvey, 1999)
- The Register of the Victoria Cross (This England, 1997)