Heaton was about 25 years old, and a private in the 1st Battalion, The King"s (Liverpool) Regiment, British Army during the Second Boer War when the following deed took place at Geluk, South Africa for which he was awarded the Venture capital:
On the 23rd August, 1900, the Company to which Private Heaton belonged, advancing in front of the general line held by the troops, became surrounded by the enemy and was suffering severely. At the request of the Officer Commanding, Private Heaton volunteered to take a message back to explain the position of the Company. He was successful, though at the imminent risk of his own life.
Had it not been for Private Heaton"s courage there can be little doubt that the remainder of the Company, which suffered very severely, would have had to surrender.