"Major A. A. Gordon holds a special place in Britains and Belgian harts and history, because he, in his duty to Belgian Crown of King Albert I and Queen Elisabeth of Belgium, brought some humanity in the War to end all Wars. Loosing and sacrificing all his heirs. He truly diserves a hero's welcome at Valhalla!"
Archibald Alexander Gordon was born on September 3, 1867, as the second child of Dr William Eagleson Gordon and Emily Dick. He was the younger brother of William Eagleson Gordon, who earned the Victoria Cross in the Second Boer War. His mother was a descendent of the famous MacKenzie family and had returned from the West-Indies after she had became a widow. Once returned in Scotland she married Dr. William Eagleson Gordon on the 12th of July 1865 in Edinburgh. The family went to live in the Spa town of Bridge of Allan. On the age of five Archibald lost his father at the age of 51 on January 15, 1873. Emily was pregnant at the time of her last child and once again became a widow with soon to be 6 children. Later on, she moved the family to Switzerland for a years stay. Here she 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 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 at Dorset he had the opportunity to meet his beloved 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 served in the Crimean 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 were 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. Both sons were educated at Haileybury College. William was a Cambridge undergratued for studying Holy Orders until in 1914 the First World War broke out. He and his brother both enlisted being William in the 8th Gordon Highlanders and Edmund in the 7th Seaforth Highlanders both as a second Lieutenant and were shipped to France on the 5th of May 1915.
Archibald was a co-founded together with Sheriff James Ferguson of Kinmundy and another friend, a volunteer battalion that later came known as the Ninth (Highlanders) Royal Scots. Because of hostilities in South Africa, Gordon volunteered for service, but his request was denied and instead, he was made Honorary Secretary to the Edinburgh and East of Scotland Field Hospital for South Africa. Later on, Archibald became secretary of the Franco-Scottish Society, a post which earned him the Knight of the Legion D’Honneur (France) in 1898. Archibald Alexander Gordon enlisted in 1896 in the Royal Company of Archers, King's Bodyguard for Scotland. The unit, which had a ceremonial purpose for protecting a British monarch during his or her visit to Scotland. He was promoted to Captain in the 9th Royal Scots on August 6, 1900. Archibald Gordon left Edinburgh in 1906 for London, where he was appointed to be the private secretary of Arthur Wellesley, 4th Duke of Wellington. Archibald took up his duty at Aspley House in London from 1906 till 1924.
THE GREAT WAR
During the First World War, he was given his former rank of Major and served with the staff members of the 63rd (Royal Naval) Division during the siege of Antwerp in 1914. Colonel (later General) Seely appointed major Gordon to his liaison-officer and together they overlooked the positions of the British forces outside Antwerp. After the fortress' of Antwerp fell a massive evacuation was ordered by King Albert I of Belgium. Every allied soldier had to be evacuated to the towns of Brugges and Ostend. Major Gordon and Colonel Seely organized the evacuation of the British troops from the frontlines and went to St Nicolas and St Gillis Waes before the forces could board trains in the station. After Major Gordon's return to London, he received a message from Belgium, with the question to deliver a package to La Panne for the Belgian Sovereigns. Here he was asked to become Kings Messenger to King Albert. Major Gordon accepted this position with great honour and served King Albert from 1914 till 1922. During his time as kings Messenger he fulfilled many tasks and missions for the Belgian Royal Family in Belgium, France and England and became a most respected member in the Belgian Royal household.
LATER LIFE AND DEATH
Major Gordon records in the final chapter of his memoirs:
"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 the King.
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 by the Royal Household.
Major Gordon died in August 1949.
GORDON FAMILY TREE
Peter of Ballee William of Ballyskeagh 1697 - ?
Mary Boak Mary Ross
Aaron Gordon William Gordon (1738 - 1831) Margaret Gordon Mary Gordon
Margaret Boak (1744 - 14/11/1837) .... Martin
Elizabeth(... - 1839) Aaron(1781 - 8/10/1844) Robert of Stragollen (1774- 7/9/1850) William(..- ./1/1837) Mary
Ellen Eagleson (1786 - 21/09/1860)
George (22/6/1824 - 4/6/1896) William(15/5/1812 - 25/2/1814) Aaron (17/5/1814 - 29/1/1860) Matilda An (1/11/1817 - 1863) William E. (4/6/1831-15/1/1873) Elizabeth Robert (4/6/1823 - 23/7/1823) Margaret (5/5/1810 - 1816) Ellen (1827 - 1899) Robert (1830 - 1883)
X (1)Marion Hay Forbes
X (2) Emelia M. Dick
William Eagleson Archibald Alexander Robert Aaron Emily Mackenzie Helen Isabelle
Lizzie Maude Smith
William "Bill" Hyde Eagleson Archibald Edmund Robert Adam