MAJOR ARCHIBALD ALEXANDER GORDON
COLONEL W.E. GORDON VC - YOUNGER BROTHER
The life of Major Archibald Alexander Gordon was full of adventure, esteemed (working)positions, connections with many high ranking British and foreign personages and unfortunately also with great tragedy. He was born a genuine Scotsmen at Haymount house in Bridge of Allan, Stirlingshire in 1867, as the second son of Doctor William Eagleson Gordon and Emily Dick. His elder brother W.E. Gordon V.C., C.B.E, was one of the six Victoria Cross recipients of his regiment (the Gordon Highlanders), during the Second Boer War. He also had two younger sisters, Emily McKenzie (Black) and Helen Isabelle (Nicholson) and a younger brother Robert Aaron and Stepbrother George Freer. After his father's death, the family went for a year stay in Switzerland, where Major Gordon met with Major General Charles George Gordon CB and later returned to Scotland.
After Archibald Alexander Gordon graduated as Chartered Accountant he worked in many honorary administrative positions where he had the opportunity to meet the love his life, a girl from Ulster, Lizzie Maude Smith. The couple married in 1892 and received three children in total: William (Bill) Hyde Eagleson Gordon, Archibald George Ramsay and Edmund Robert Adam Gordon. A.G.R. Gordon tragically died a few months after his birth. In 1896 he was incorporated into the Royal Company of Archers, a ceremonial bodyguard company tasked with the protection of the British Monarch during the latter's visit in Scotland. A. A. Gordon was the co-founder of the 9th Royal Scots and the first commanding officer of A-company. He stood at the head of his brigade during the coronation procession of King Edward VII. Later on, he was promoted to Major and Brigade-Major. was appointed to Honorary Secretary of the 4th Duke of Wellington Arthur Wellesley in 1906 and moved to Farningham, Kent. He held the position for 13 years.
With the outbreak of the First World War in 1914, A.A. Gordon was asked to fund money for the Belgian refugees, because of his earlier involvement of funding the saving of the Waterloo monument in Belgium. Major Gordon personally delivered the funding's to the Belgium government in Antwerp during the early days of the war. Because of the vastness of the German advance, Major Gordon became stranded in Antwerp and was giving his old rang of Major back by then Colonel and later Major-General Lord (Seely) Mottistone D.S.O.
Major Gordon distinguished himself during the siege of Antwerp and the later retreat to Bruges and Ostend. After his return to England in October 1914 was asked to become Kings Messenger to the King of the Belgians Albert I. This position he accepted with great honour. From 1914 till 1922 he was involved with many tasks for the Belgium Royal family, among which: taking part in establishing the Queen's hospital L'ocean at La Panne, visiting the Belgium frontlines, perform duties in England for the Royal family, organizing visits of the Belgium Royal family to England, and many other. He held a lifelong friendship with King Albert and the Belgian Royal Family.
During the war, Major Gordon lost two important relatives. First his oldest surviving son William H. Eagleson Gordon during the Battle of Loos on September 30, 1915, and secondly his mother in 1917.
After his wife's death in 1929 after serious health problems during the majority of her life, Major Gordon's surviving son, Edmund was diagnosed with Tuberculosis and died in 1932. By then Major Gordon had lost hole his family with only his older brother Colonel Gordon and his youngest sister Helene still left. He wrote his memoirs Culled from a Diary in 1939 which was published in 1941 by, Oliver and Boyd. When his older brother, Bt. Col. W.E. Gordon died in March 1941 after a London air-raid during the Blitzkrieg in November 1940, he became a social figure in the community of Bridge of Allan where he was involved in the Scouts and Curling club. He died in 1949 and takes his quiet rest in Lodgie Cemetery next to his beloved wife across his father, mother and oldest sister tomb
Archibald Alexander Gordon was born on the 3rd of September 1867, as the second child of Dr William Eagleson Gordon and Emily Dick. William Eagleson Gordon (Sr) married Emily Dick on the 12th of July 1865 in Edinburgh, Scotland and the family lived at Riddles Entry 35 New Street, Edinburgh. Archibald Alexander Gordon was five years old when his father suddenly died at the age of 51 on the 15th of January 1873. Emily Gordon then moved the family to Switzerland and remained a widow. The family took up residence in Ouchy, near Lake Geneva. Archibald and his older brother William went to the same school as the nephews of General Charles G. Gordon (‘Chinese Gordon’), who was famous for his actions in suppressing the Taiping uprising and later the siege of Khartoum, against the Sudanese Mahdi in which he was killed. General Gordon visited Lausanne and taught the Sunday class for several weeks. His way of teaching inspired Archibald and many others. Archibald also met with General Gordon outside of school hours near the lake where he told many of the students some amazing stories.
In 1879 the family went back to Scotland and Archibald and his brother went to Dr Hamilton Bruce's School in Edinburgh. Archibald was further educated together with his older brother at Stanley House School, Bridge of Allan; at Edinburgh Collegiate School and finally at the University of Edinburgh where he studied for five years and earned the title of 'Chartered Accounted'.
MARIAGE AND CHILDEREN
Although Archibald had a degree in Chartered Accountant he never intended to practice this profession but decided to become a resident agent and took a job with the Wimborne estates at Cranford, Dorset. During those two years he spent there he had the opportunity to meet his lifelong companion Maude.
Gordon married Lizzie Maude Smith, who was five years younger than him. Her father was Major General Edmund Davidson Smith, who was the former Assistant Adjutant General of the Dublin district and had served in the Crimea War and the Indian Mutiny. Major General Edmund Davidson Smith died on the 8th of September 1916.
Archibald and his wife Maude had their first-born twins on 23 August 1893 in Haddington, East Lothian, Scotland. There two sons where named Archibald George Ramsay Gordon and William Hyde Eagleson Gordon. Sadly the first twin, Archibald, died on his second Christmas day. Three years later the family had a third son Edmund Robert Adam Gordon, who was born in Edinburgh, Midlothian, Scotland. The eldest son William, was educated at Haileybury and Sidney Sussex College at Cambridge University. He was studying Holy Orders until in 1914 when the First World War broke out. He then enlisted in the 8th Gordon Highlanders as a Lieutenant and was shipped to France on the 5th of May 1915.
LATER LIFE AND DEATH
Major Gordon records in the final chapter of the book of his memoirs, the following:
"I end with what I might have preceded my account of my service under King Albert. Almost his first request was; Major, I always wish the truth. I do not always get it! And please never publish anything when with me".
Major Gordon kept his double promise to King Albert I of Belgium.
In his memoirs, Major Gordon does not mention the tragic death of King Albert on the 17th of February 1934. But he most certainly had to be informed directly by the Royal Family or the Royal Household.
Major Gordon died on the 12th of August 1949.
COMMANDER OF THE BRITISH EMPIRE - 1917 MEMBER OF THE VICTORIAN ORDER- 4TH CLASS - 1908 KNIGHT OF GRACE OF ST JOHN OF JERUSALEM - 1900
BRITISH KNIGHTHOUD ORDER BRITISH KNIGHTHOOD ORDER BRITISH KNIGHTHOOD ORDER
OFFICER IN THE ORDER OF LEOPOLD I - 1916 COMMANDER IN THE ORDER OF THE CROWN -1918 COMMANDER IN THE ORDER OF LEOPOLD II - 1920
BELGIAN KNIGHTHOOD ORDER BELGIAN KNIGHTHOOD ORDER BELGIAN KNIGHTHOOD ORDER
COMPANION IN THE L'EGION D'HONNEUR - 1919 ST IAGO OF THE SWORD - 1905 ISABEL OF THE CATHOLICS - 1908
FRENCH KNIGHTHOOD ORDER PORTUGESE KNIGHTHOOD ORDER SPANISH KNIGHTHOOD ORDER
ORDER OF ST. ANNE - 1917 ORDER OF THE CROWN - 1918
RUSSIAN (IMPERIAL) KNIGHTHOOD ORDER ITALIAN KNIGHTHOOD ORDER
1914 STAR AND BAR 1914-18 WAR MEDAL 1914-18 VICTORAY MEDAL CORONATION MEDAL OF EDWARD VII - 1902
BRITISH AWARD BRITISH AWARD BRITISH AWARD BRITISH AWARD
CORONATION MEDAL OF GEORGE V - 1911 JUBILEE MEDAL OF GEORGE V - 1935 CORONATION MEDAL OF GEORGE VI - 1937
BRITISH AWARD BRITISH AWARD BRITISH AWARD
CIVILIAN CROSS 1914-15 CROIX DE GUERRE WITH PALM MEDAL OF KING ALBERT I - 1920 MEDAL OF REINE ELIZABETH - 1918
BELGIAN AWARD BELGIAN AWARD BELGIAN AWARD BELGIAN AWARD
CROIX DE GUERRE WITH PALM RECONAISSANCE MEDAL - SECOND CLASS PALMES UNIVERSITAIRES
FRENCH AWARD FRENCH AWARD FRENCH AWARD
NATIONAL ARCHERY MEDAL - 1900
UNOFFICIAL BRITISH AWARD
THE MAJOR A. A. GORDON SOCIETY, founded in 2019, is the worlds prominent international non-profit educational society for preserving the historic legacy of Major A. A. Gordon and his family.