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Major A. A. gordon society

Major Archibald Alexander Gordon, his family and there military service

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Major A. A. gordon society

MAJOR A. A. GORDON AND HIS FAMILY

 

Major A. A. Gordon was an energetic, honourable Scottish officer and gentleman who held the following military positions:

 

- Member of the Royal Company of Archers (1896)

- Cofounder, first Captain and first commander of A-company of the 9th Volunteer Battalion Royal Scots (1900)

- Cofounder of the (military) Queen Victoria School in Dublane

- Veteran in the Siege of Antwerp and later retreat to Bruges and Ostend (1914)

- Offer assistance in the evacuation of Russian Refugees in Zeebrugge, Belgium (1914)

- Belgian Kings Messenger to King Albert I of Belgium (1914 - 1922)

 

Besides his military possitions he was private secretary to the 4th Duke of Wellington, author of the book 'Culled from a diary', a magnificant traveler and survivor of the SS Paris disaster.

 

I like to give a small summery of the life and service of Major A. A. Gordon and leaf some additional sites and references below, for the enthousiast.

 

Archibald Alexander Gordon was born in 1867 in the Scottish town of Bridge of Allan and had one older brother, an older stepbrother, a younger brother and two sisters.

His older brother William Eagleson earned the Victoria Cross during the Second Boer War as a captain in the 1st Gordon Highlanders, he was decorated for his actions together with David Younger who received the VC posthumously in the same enagement. His older stepbrother died in 1898, his younger brother died in 1903 and his younger sister only a year later in 1904.


In 1896 Gordon became a member of the Royal Company of Archers and in 1900 he co-founded the 9th Royal Scots together with its founder James Ferguson and became a very close friend to the later second commander, Captain (later Lt. Colonel) James H. Clark. Clark later died during the 2nd siege of Ypres in May 1915 as head of the 9th Argyll and Sutherland battalion. Captain A. A. stood at the head of the battalion of the 9th Royal Scots during the corronation of King Edward VII in 1902. In  january 1905 he was promoted to Major and was appointed Brigade Major in May of the same year. He resigned his commission in 1906, while taking up his possition as private secretary to the 4th Duke of Wellington in London. Major Gordon will later met with the Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria in Apsley house afterwards. 

 

In 1914 A. A. Gordon started a British funding for the Belgian Refugees, he previous was also in involved in the funding of the Waterloo monument in Belgium. Gordon accompanied the fundings and aid supplies across the channel into Antwerp, where the Belgian Governement and Belgian King Albert I was located after the German invasion and retreat from Brussels. When the German advance made great progress, Gordon became stuck in Antwerp and met up with Colonel Jack Seely (Later General,  Lord Mottistone) in the Hotel St. Antoinne in Antwerp. Here Colonel Jack Seely gave him his old rank of Major back and made him is liaison-officer. In the hotel St. Antoinne Major Gordon met also with the Russian Prince Nicholas A. Koudachef, who asked him to ask the British governement for the transportation of Russian refugees who where brought from all over Europe to Zeebrugge. After the Siege and retreat of Antwerp, Major A. A. Gordon went back to England and reported to Winston Churchill (the First Lord of the Admiralty at the time). Afterwards Major Gordon sent a telegram to the First Lord, who to Major Gordon's surprise agreed to help the Russian refugees and commandeered some touristvessels from the Thames to get the Russian refugees to London, from where they were set on a cargovessel back to Russia.

 

By the end of 1914, Major Gordon (who still acted as private secretary to the 4th Duke of Wellington) was asked by the Royal Military household of Belgium to do something in England for there majesties and than travel to the Belgian HQ of the King in La Panne. Afterwards he was asked to act as Kings Messenger to King Albert I, which he accepted with great proudness. His first task was to co-ordinate the establishement of the Belgian Queens Hospital which was located at the L'ocean Hotel in La Panne and became later known as Hospital L'ocean. From there Major Gordon did the upmost variety for there majesties during the war including, escorting esteemed British and Belgian person to the Belgian front, such as Mrs. Asquith (wife of prime-minister) and Mr. Eugene Ysäye (violin master). He also photographed and maintained several graves, established a protestant chappel in La Panne for the British soldiers. Major Gordon became very close friends with the famouse British Nurses Elsie Knocker and Mairi Chisholm who aided soldiers in there fieldambulance in the Belgian town of Pervuyse. In 1917 he escorted King Albert I and his household to London for the celebration of King George's V jubilee ceremony. Afterwards he guided King Albert I through Edinburgh and visited with him the Grand Fleet in Scotland. Together with his good connections to Prince Alexander of Teck (Late Lord Athlone), Lord Curzon and Lord Stamfordham he managed to make the trip in a succes.

 

In 1918 Major Gordon completed two personal missions on the front. The first in Brugge, where he found a the Nurse Leahy, who hadden't had contect with her mother in England for more than 5 years. The second mission was to found the remains of his older brother's subordinate who died instantly in a retreat, and W. E. Gordon only could leave in a ditch, to save his own life. The remains where found by a French priest who burried the soldier in tomb of his church afterwards. When Major Gordon contacted the family that he had found the remains of there son, the family decided to leave the remains in the church when visiting the priest and the church. In november 1918 Major Gordon took part in the triophic procession through Brussels with the Belgian Military Royal Household. He later was tasked to bring back the Belgian Treasure from England under complete secrecy. Afterwards he got awarded with the Belgian Commander in the Order of the Crown for this act. From there he made a secret mission in the Netherlands, which we do not know much about. 


In 1920 Major Gordon was tasked as Kings Messenger to King Albert I to participate in the Belgian state visit in Engeland. Here Major Gordon was decorated in the Belgian Commander in the order of Leopold II and was given a signed picture of King Albert of Belgium. In 1922 the British monarch's made a state visit to Belgium and Major Gordon was personally assigned by King George V to participate in the visit. It will be last official duty of Major Gordon to Belgium.

 

Major Gordon's two surviving son's (twin of William died in his infancy), William and Edmund also participated as Scottish officers in the Great War. Luitenant William Hyde Eagleson arrived in France in may 1915 with the 8th Gordon Highlanders regiment. His younger brother Edmund arrived about the same time as a lieutenant in the 7th Seaforth Highlanders. By the end of september 1915, during the Battle of Loos, William was mortually wounded by a gunshot to the head. He died in Etaples Military Hospital on 30th september 1915. Edmund was entreched near Hill 60 near Ypres at the time and became ill in October 1915. He suffered from Jaundice and Neurosthenia. He was evacuated to Britain and recoverd (partialy) of his illness. He returned to France and got wounded in August 1917. He suffered from a leg wound and a severe hand wound. He was evacuated en treated in hospital of Rouen en later placed in Brighton Hospital. Though his condition became worse, which resulted in a partiuelly amputation of his hand and several fingers. Luckely he served the war and married his beloved wife Vivienne Roberts in 1926. Afterwards the couple recieved there son Peter, who unfortunatly died in his infancy. By this time Edmund's warillness, which had damaged his lung's, was suffering van Tuberculosis. Edmund died from his illness in 1932, beeing the last of Major Gordon's bloodline.

 

Major Gordon had also lost his beloved wife Lizzie in 1929 after a series of health problems. He spended the remaining these of his life by travelling, gardening and became author and wrote the book 'Culled from a Diary' in 1939, with a foreword of Lord Mottistone. The book was published in 1941. Major Gordon died in 1949 and lies beside his wife in Logie Cemetery. The grave is also not for situated from his father (who unexpectatly died in 1873), his mother (who died in 1917) and his younger sister (1904).

 

For those of you who are more interested in the life of Major A. A. Gordon can visit the following the links:

 

MAJOR A. A. GORDON SOCIETY

WIKIPEDIA PAGE

 

Please give a free virtual flower to the family members of Major Gordon on the following website:

 

FIND A GRAVE

 

More information and dialogs will be added in the future,

Kind regards,

Maarten C.

(President of the Major A. A. Gordon Society - Belgium)

 

 

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FROGSMILE

A very interesting life story, thank you for posting.

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Neill Gilhooley

Agreed, thank you Maarten.

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