b. 1832 Warrington, Cheshire. d. 13/03/1896 Salford, Greater Manchester.
William Norman (1832-1896) was born in Warrington, Cheshire, sometime during the year 1832. He enlisted as a Private in the 7th Regiment of Foot (later the Royal Fusiliers) of the British Army on 15th May 1854.
Shortly after enlisting, the hostilities broke out in the Crimean Peninsula and Norman was posted out with the 7th to fight against the Russians. Only a short time after arriving on the peninsula, Private William Norman would show incredible gallantry on the battlefield and be awarded the Victoria Cross.
On the night of 19th December 1854, at Sebastopol, Private Norman was placed as a single sentry, some distance in front of the advanced sentries of an outlying picquet in the White Horse Ravine, a post of much danger, and requiring great vigilance. The Russian picquet was about 300 yards in front of him, when suddenly three Russian infantrymen appeared on a reconnoitre mission under the cover of the brushwood. Private Norman, single-handed, took two of them prisoner without alerting the rest of the Russian picquet.
Norman was awarded the VC in the first group of decorations on 24th February 1857, and was part of the 62 men who were given their medals by Queen Victoria in Hyde Park on 26th June 1857. Norman would later serve in the Umbelaya Campaign on the North West Frontier in 1863 and achieved the rank of Corporal. He left the Army in 1865, and little is known of his life after that date. He died on 13th March 1896 in Salford, Lancashire, and due to financial problems, was buried in an unmarked grave in Weaste Cemetery, Salford. He was married at the time with three children. In 2004, the Royal Fusiliers Museum was involved in providing a headstone for William’s grave. William’s medal group was sold at auction on 20th May 1920 for £10, and then again on the 18th November 1926 for £90, purchased by Officers of the Royal Fusiliers past and present, and then donated to the Royal Fusiliers Museum, Tower of London, where they are displayed today.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: ROYAL FUSILIERS MUSEUM, TOWER OF LONDON
BURIAL PLACE: WEASTE CEMETERY, SALFORD, LANCASHIRE. COMMON GROUND.
Kevin Brazier – Image of the Norman VC Grave.
Thomas Stewart – Image of the Norman VC Medal Group at the Royal Fusiliers Museum, Tower of London.
Paul Deeprose – Image of the Norman VC Medal.