Special Collections

Sold on 6 July 2004

1 part


Medals From The Collection of Hal Giblin

Hal Giblin


№ 437


6 July 2004

Hammer Price:

1914-15 Star (Major W. J. Barton, Norf. R.) good very fine £180-220

This lot was sold as part of a special collection, Medals From The Collection of Hal Giblin.

View Medals From The Collection of Hal Giblin


Already a veteran of the Boer War, during which he served with the 5th Battalion, Norfolk Regiment in operations in the Transvaal, Orange River Colony and Cape Colony between April 1901 and March 1902, and for which he received the honorary rank of Lieutenant in the Army in June 1902, Barton sailed as a Major with the Battalion for the Mediterranean aboard the Aquitania in late July 1915.

What remains unclear, due to conflicting evidence between regimental sources and his
MIC entry, is whether he landed in Gallipoli on 10 August 1915, and, by virtue of that, witnessed the horrific action of the 12th, when the Battalion all but disappeared. His MIC states that his date of entry into the Gallipoli theatre was ‘9/15’, yet regimental rolls would suggest otherwise. If the former source is correct, he must have been landed at Lemnos or Imbros for reasons unknown. Yet the latter may well be correct, a general description of the Battalion’s activities on Saddle Ridge, near Jepson’s Post, in August 1915, by Captain M. B. Buxton, M.C. - following the massacre of the 12th - citing Barton as one of the few officers still present and actually in command.

Yet further evidence of Barton’s participation in the landings in August 1915 may be found in a letter from the C.-in-C. of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force to the War Office in London, dated 19 February 1917:

‘ ... Major Barton was admitted to hospital on 20 April last suffering from mental strain. He stated he had never quite recovered from the shock of the Gallipoli
landing ...’

The same letter continues:

‘When subsequently passed fit he was not sent back to his unit as at the time, July 1916, there was no officer senior to him with his unit, and he was not considered fit to command. He was accordingly employed on Censor Duties at General Headquarters. In the meantime a Commanding Officer was appointed to the 1/5th Battalion, Norfolk Regiment and Major Barton, being no longer needed for Censor Duties, rejoined his unit (December, 1916). I do not recommend this Officer for further employment. A copy of this letter has been sent to Major Barton ...’

Barton was struck off the strength of the 1/5th Norfolks in March 1917.