Day 5 of the 11-day Military Challenge
Alfred was born in Sorel, Quebec in 1888 to parents Thomas Lee Norton, a baker and his wife Esther Douglas, joining siblings Thomas Lee and Alyce May. Four more children were born after Alfred but only one of his younger siblings survived.
When Alfred was ten he lost two family members, his newborn brother Arthur died in February and six days later their mother Esther died as well. After losing their mother things became tough for the Norton children, the 1901 census reveals Alfred’s sisters living in an orphanage while Alfred is nowhere to be found.At the age of 26, Alfred signed up for WWI on 26th September 1914 at Valcartier, Quebec. It wasn’t his first military foray, he had previously served for three years in the 8th Royal Rifles and two years with the QOCH (Queens Own Cameron Highlanders). At the time of enlisting Alfred had hazel eyes, brown hair and was standing a tall 5’7″, his occupation is a clerk.
Alfred sailed out on the S.S. Andania and served in England and France.
It was during the battle at Ypres that Alfred earned the Military Medal with the 14th Infantry Ballalion when he showed –
persistent devotion to duty at all times since the Regiment arrived in France. This man has shown good ability and has several times carried up ammunition under heavy fire. His conduct under fire in the Ypres Salient has been splendid especially on May 25, 1916, in tending wounded under shell fire
After the war, Alfred returned to Montreal where he went back to working as a clerk. He married Elizabeth Walker Johnson in 1930 at the St. Giles Presbyterian Church.
Alfred’s heath may have suffered from his war service as he died suddenly at the age of 42 with no children.
Alfred is buried in Mount Royal Cemetery in Montreal, Quebec.
Featured image – S.S. Ardania from the Wreck Site