b. 04/05/1866 Bridge of Allan, Scotland. d. 10/03/1941 Hindhead, Surrey.
William Eagleson Gordon (1866-1941) was born on 4th May 1866 in Bridge of Allan, Stirlingshire, Scotland, the son of W.E.Gordon, MD. He joined the 1st Gordon Highlanders, then stationed in Malta, as a Second Lieutenant from the Militia on 6th June 1888, and was promoted to Lieutenant on 1st September 1891.
His first active service was with the Chitral Relief Expedition in 1895, when he was present at the storming of the Malakand Pass, and received the Frontier Medal with clasp. He was then promoted to Captain on 19th June 1897, and took part in the operations on the North West Frontier of India from 1897-1898, with the Tirah Expeditionary Force, and received a clasp to the North West Frontier Medal.
From 1899 to January 1903, he was Adjutant to the 1st Battalion, Gordon Highlanders, and as such he served throughout the Second Boer War of 1899-1902. He took part in the advance on Kimberley, including the action at Magersfontein (dangerously wounded); operations in the Orange Free State, including Paardeburg (slightly wounded); actions at Poplar Grove, Dreifontein, Houtnek, Vet River and Zand River; operations in the Transvaal and in the Cape Colony.
He was mentioned three times in despatches, received the Queen’s South Africa Medal with five clasps, the King’s Medal with two clasps, and the brevet of Lieutenant-Colonel on attaining the rank of Major. He was also recommended for, and awarded the Victoria Cross (London Gazette, 28th September 1900).
On the 11th July, 1900, during the action near Leehoehoek (or Doornbosch Fontein), near Krugersdorp, a party of men, accompanied by Captains Younger and Allan, having succeeded in dragging an artillery waggon under cover when its horses were unable to do so by reason of the heavy and accurate fire of the enemy, Captain Gordon called for volunteers to go out with him to try to bring in one of the guns. He went put alone to the nearest gun under a heavy fire, and with the greatest coolness fastened a drag-rope to the gun and then beckoned to the men, who immediately doubled out to join him in accordance with his previous instructions. While moving the gun, Captain Younger and three men were hit. Seeing that further attempts would only result in further casualties, Captain Gordon ordered the remainder of the party under cover of the kopje again, and, having seen the wounded safely away, himself retired. Captain Gordon’s conduct, under a particularly heavy and most accurate fire at only 850 yards range, was most admirable, and his manner of handling his men most masterly; his devotion on every occasion that his Battalion has been under fire has been remarkable.
He received his Victoria Cross from Lord Kitchener at Pretoria on 8th June 1902. He was then appointed Staff Captain, Highland Grouped Regimental District from 1903 to 1908, being promoted to Major on 1st January 1907, and gazetted Brevet Lieutenant-Colonel the following day. From April 1908 to June 1909, he was D.A.A. and Q.M.G to the Highland Division, Scottish Command, and in April 1913 appointed Aide de Camp to King George V, with Brevet of Colonel. He served throughout the Great War, being captured and was in a POW Camp until 1916, when he was exchanged. From September 1917, he commanded No 1 Midland District, Scottish Command.
Colonel Gordon died aged 74 on 10th March 1941 in London, where he had moved to in retirement. He was buried in St Albans Churchyard, Hindhead, Surrey. His medals are held by the Gordon Highlanders Museum, Aberdeen.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: GORDON HIGHLANDERS MUSEUM, ABERDEEN, SCOTLAND
BURIAL PLACE: ST ALBANS CHURCHYARD, HINDHEAD, SURREY.
Kevin Brazier – Image of Gordon VC Grave in St Alban’s Churchyard, Hindhead.
Thomas Stewart – Image of his VC medal group at the Gordon Highlanders Museum, Aberdeen.