Cape of Good Hope General Service Medal, bar Basutoland (1880-1), Gunner William Simpson Norton, Grahamstown Volunteer Horse Artillery, 1 of only 14 issued to this unusual little unit.
Officially engraved: “Driver W.S. Norton. Grahamstn. H. Arty.”
Confirmed on the medal roll, of only 14 recipients, the medal is Unique as he is the only Driver on the medal roll to this unit, with another 4 Gunners, under 1 Bombardier, 1 Sergeant, 1 Quartermaster Sergeant, 2 Sergeant Majors and Captain A.E. Nelson.
William came from an old family of “1820 Settlers” who had come to South Africa during 1820, some of the earliest pioneers from England to settle in the “Cape Colony” following the take-over by the British Empire in the early 1800s.
The Grahamstown Volunteer Horse Artillery, was a peculiar little unit, that saw service in both the Frontier (Zulu etc) War of 1877-9 and then the Basutoland Gun War of 1880-81 (This medal).
Young William was a little too young to join up with the unit in the Zulu Wars where they would bring home about 28 South Africa 1877-9 Medals.
Instead aged about 18 at the time, he served as a Gunner in the local unit during the war of 1880-1 when he earned this medal.
William Simpson Norton, was born on 16th September 1862 in Grahamstown, Cape Colony, South Africa.
The family had barely moved since they landed with the 1820 Settlers in Salem, about 10 miles from Grahamstown.
He married his wife Sarah Norton (Farrell) on 17th March 1886 in Beaconsfield (Near Kimberley).
During the Boer War of 1899-1902, he did not appear to see any service, so this should be his only medal.
He returned home to Grahamstown where he died at the age of 80 on 16th December 1942.
At the time of death he was noted as a Railway Pensioner having been a Railway Foreman.