Norton Edward Felix
Edward Felix Norton ist im November 1954 gestorben. Der britische General, im zweiten Weltkrieg Militärgouverneur von Hongkong, war einer der großen Himalaya-Männer. 1884 geboren, nahm E. F. Norton 1922 als Bergsteiger an der 2. Everest-Expedition teil und erreichte hierbei mit Mallory und Somervell ohne Sauerstoff 8225m. 1924 leitete er nach Ausfall Bruce's die nächste Everest-Expedition; selbst stieg er am 4. Juni — zuletzt allein — bis 8572 in Höhevon her Süden her, also 1952 und 1953, überboten werden konnte. Norton war außer im Himalaya in den Alpen und in den Patagonischen Anden als Bergsteiger tätig. Im „Alpine Journal" vom Mai 1955 nehmen seine alten Kameraden T. H. Somervell und T. G. Longstaff von Norton Abschied.
Quelle: Der Bergkamerad 1955, 16. Jahrgang, 11. Juni 1955, Seite 460
Edward Felix Norton (1884-1954)
E. F. Norton was born in 1884 and was educated at Charterhouse and the R.M. Academy, from which he joined the Army in 1902.
After joining the Gunners he was for a time in Tipperary, and combined sport especially on horseback with his military duties.
ln the First World War (during which he won the D.S.O. and M.C.) he was a Brigade-Major in the Gunners, and later attached to the Canadian Army Corps. Before and after the war he served in India, where he gained a reputation as a fearless horseman, and was runner up in 1922 in the Kadir Cup. That same year he joined the Everest Expedition. He was Instructor at the Staff College at Quetta from 1929 to 1932, and B.G.G.S., Aldershot, 1934-38. Then he returned to India, to command the Madras District and later the Western District of the Indian Army. While acting Military-Governor of Hong ·Kong in 1940, he had a serious accident which led to his retirement in 1942 ; but at home "he threw himself into Home Guard .and-other duties In 1939 he was awarded the C.B., and he received the Founder's Medal of the R.G.S. in 1926.
Early in 1954 he was struck down by a 'stroke' from which he was slowly recovering when in November a second stroke occurred which was rapidly fatal.
The Norton family had a chalet, The Eagle's Nest, near Sixt, in Haute Savoie, where Teddy learned to climb and to know the ways of rock and snow. His instinct for these was remarkable, and besides bigger climbs, he had done a tremendous amount of scrambling and some very difficult climbing on minor peaks in Savoie and elsewhere, largely with his brother, J. H. Norton, and with relations and visitors to the Eagle's Nest. One of his annual leaves was spent with his brother, J. H. Norton, in search of climbing on Nanda Devi ; but on the eve of mountaineering a telegram recalled him to be A.D.C. to the Viceroy. In 1922 he was chosen for the Everest Expedition not merely .as a climber; but in view of the fact that he knew India, the Himalayas, and some of the local variants of Hindustani ; and was accustomed to dealing with North Indian people with whom he got on (as with everyone else) very well. He very soon established himself as a most valuable member of the party, adding to these other qualities his great knowledge of birds and wild life and his charming personality. As he was the oldest of the younger end of the expedition, we looked to him for guidance, and this was given in the nicest way possible, with free discussion and the asking of advice from his juniors. It is generally supposed that people of average height and physique stand up to serious expeditions best ; Norton was very tall, wiry in build and on the old side; yet he went higher than anyone else without oxygen, both in 1922 and 1924.
In the latter year, when General Bruce was laid aside at an early stage by malaria, Norton became our leader, and as a leader was at his very best. He combined strength of mind with humility of the best sort; keen to get the mountain climbed, always good-tempered, absolutely reliable and sound, yet always ready to discuss plans and methods and to ask advice. When Mallory and Irvine were lost, Norton took exactly the right line, as he had done before when four Sherpas were marooned at the North Col in fresh snow.
As a companion on a mountain he was ideal ; when alone with him on Everest in 1924 I wondered at the way in which his tall, slender body was kept going to a height never before attained by man, not merely by its muscles, for he was not exceptionally strong, but by his indomitable spirit.
After I had shot my bolt and stopped defeated on a ledge at 28.000 ft., Norton went on for another hundred feet until snow-blindness and the lateness of the hour drove him back.
His wife came from the old climbing family of Pasteur, and they did many climbs together in the Alps, as well as around Quetta in later days. Wherever he was stationed he took every opportunity of visiting mountains, such as the Patagonian Andes, Nilgiris, ·Table Mountain, and many Himalayan districts. It was one of his greatest disappointments that when his sons became old enough to climb mountains he was himself prevented by ill-health from climbing with them.
As a friend for over thirty years, he continued to show· his three chief characteristics -stability, humility and generosity. He never let anybody down, and always tried to see the best in others and to bring it out when opportunity occurred.
He was a great lover of birds and very knowledgeable about them, and he was in addition a most accomplished draughtsman and a real lover of all that is beautiful in scenery and in natural life. As a climber, as a friend, and perhaps above all as a leader, Teddy Norton was outstanding, and while all members of this Club extend their sympathy to his wife and his three sons, those who knew him best will best realise what an ideal husband and father he must have been.
T. H. Somervell.
DR. Tom G. Longstaff writes:
In parting with Norton the Club has lost a man of the most outstanding character and of the greatest personal charm. He was second to none. Always prepared to undertake any responsibility in the field or on the mountain, his innate modesty also prevented his accepting the most pressing invitations to become President, so ·that he was not personally so well known to many of our members as he should have been. Although a grandson of Wills and inheritor of the historic 'Eagle?s Nest' at Sixt, he insisted that the exigencies of his profession had prevented his acquiring that personal knowledge of the Club and its affairs which he considered essential for a President. Yet at 'The Chalet' he had met, as a boy, several of the Fathers of the Club and later entertained there many of the most eminent members of the next generation.
As a Horse Gunner he was pre-eminent; as a horsemaster, as a horseman and as a considerate friend to the men of his Battery: in the old days of long service a battery was a fan1ily in a way which is hardly possible today. The writer well remembers staying with him near Norwich when he commanded the Experimental Mountain Battery and his sad reply, on being congratulated on his forthcoming promotion, that this was the last time he would command individual men and that in future his contact with them must be indirect.
He served several years in India in Wardrop's (General Sir Alexander) celebrated Horse Battery and took naturally to polo and pig-sticking, at both of which great sports he proved adept. He also took to tiger shooting, of which Wardrop and his friend Harold Branford were renowned experts. At the Eagle's Nest he and his brother, Major J. H. Norton, were the only successful chamois hunters on that ground; it was not preserved but the natives could not face the difficulties of the terrain. Climbing there with him on one occasion I complained that every single hold was loose: I was coolly recommended to push them in and trust to balance, as he did when carrying down a chamois with its legs tied together round his neck.
He got great pleasure from his love of natural history ; especially of birds and flowers. At the Eagle's Nest he would show the great Black Woodpecker or the Wall Creeper, introducing ·them almost as personal friends. Before the Everest Expedition of 1922 he spent hours at the Natural History Museum examining specimens in the Bird Room and getting from Kinnear a list of those species which were specially wanted for the national collection, for he was most averse to unnecessary collecting. We had to get a specimen of the rare Ibis-billed Curlew for dissection and I well remember his skill in circumventing this wary bird and then wading the deep cold river of the Chumbi Valley to recover the specimen from an island in midstream. He also made a valuable collection of the scanty flora for Kew.
He greatly distinguished himself in the first German war and in the late war held several very important commands, including that of Hong Kong, but to his deep regret was never in the firing line. He was a Galahad. Yet it is as the perfect companion that he is lamented, but remembered always with joy .
Quelle: Alpine Journal Vol. 60. Nr. 290, 1955, Seite 157-160
1922 Teiln. 2.Mount Everest-Expedition, (Himalaya,Tibet/Nepal)
1924 Leiter der Mount Everest-Expedition,Best.Mount Everest bis 8573m,8750m,
1924 Best.Vers.Mount Everest bis 8500m,8848m, (Himalaya,Nepal/Tibet)