1900, Van Wyk's Vlei

HAMPTON, HARRY, Sergeant, was born at Crown Terrace, Richmond Surrey, on 14 December 1870, son of Mr Samuel Hampton. He entered the 1st Battalion The King's Liverpool Regiment at Aldershot 10 March, 1889, and became Corporal exactly two years later/ He served in the West Indies, and also in Nova Scotia, between 1891 and 1897, in South Africa in 1897, and throughout the Boer War of 1899-1902, almost to its close, with the 1st Mounted Infantry Company of his regiment, the King's Liverpool Regiment. He was present at the Siege of Ladysmith, when his regiment acted on the 6th January 1900, as support to the defenders of Wagon Hill, and were under a very heavy shell and rifle fire the whole day. After the siege, as part of the 4th Division Mounted Infantry, they took part in the advance through Natal and the Eastern Transvaal, and were almost continuously engaged with the enemy. On the 21st August 1900, at Van Wyk's Vlei, the unit was opposed by a very superior force of Boers, and a portion of it was only able to withdraw from the position it had taken up through the cool and gallant conduct of Sergeant Hampton and Corporal H J Knight. Sergeant H Hampton was in command of a small detached party of Mounted Infantry, and when he saw the men being driven back by the superior force of the Boers, held on to his position—a most important one—for some considerable time, in the face of large numbers of the enemy. When he found that his position was untenable he was compelled to retire, and the withdrawal was carried out in a most skilful manner. He saw all his men into safety and—although himself wounded in the head — supported Lance Corporal Walsh (who was badly wounded and unable to walk) until the latter was again hit by a bullet and killed. Sergeant Hampton was again wounded shortly afterwards. For these services Sergeant Hampton was awarded the Victoria Cross, as related in the London Gazette, and was decorated by King Edward VII at St James's Palace. His Victoria Cross was gazetted 18 October 1901: "Harry Hampton, Sergeant, 2nd Battalion The King's (Liverpool) Regiment. On the 21st August 1900, at Van Wyk's Vlei, Sergeant Hampton, who was in command of a small party of Mounted Infantry, held an important position for some time against heavy odds, and when compelled to retire saw all his men into safety, and then, although he had himself been wounded in the head, supported Lance Corporal Walsh, who was unable to walk, until the latter was again hit and apparently killed, Sergeant Hampton himself being again wounded some time after". He became Colour-Sergeant; was Sergeant Instructor in Musketry, and was discharged on pension. His was one of three Victoria Crosses won by his regiment in as many days.

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