The Sunday Pictorial

27 February 1916

Major Gordon was listed in the above advertisement as an ex-prisoner of war. The newspaper switched his identity with Major A. A. Duff, primarily mentioned in the newspapers as DUFF, Major A. A., Gordon Highlanders, who was

was captured while wounded, but escaped before being sent to a camp.

When Belgium was first invaded, when our King and his Government proudly rejected the deal proposed by Germany, when our troops opposed the passage of the enemy, troops opposed the passage of the enemy, and when the resistance of our fortresses delayed the march of the German armies, with one voice England praised our brave people. Hence a strong and spontaneous desire to help the distressed families of our soldiers and our wounded. The British public wished to assist and did not know how best to do so. I was overwhelmed with letters asking how help could be sent to the Belgians... With a view to facilitating these generous intentions, at the beginning of the War I founded the Belgian Relief Fund. Its headquarters were at the Legation, and H.R.H. the Duchess of Vendôme graciously gave it her patronage. Her Royal Highness's assistance cannot be sufficiently appreciated...The British Press most generously assisted our efforts, and the following notice appeared in all the papers: "Belgien Relief Fund - Under the patronage of Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Vendôme, sister of His Majesty the King of the Belgians..... Before Antwerp fell, several steamers laden with provisions and clothes were given to the Belgian Relief Fund were sent to that town and the contents were distributed to the population of Antwerp and its suburbs before the arrival of the enemy, thanks to the untiring efforts of the Fund’s honorary secretary, Major Gordon, who from the first assisted me in organising the Fund, and accompanied those vessels to Belgium. Major Gordon’s devoted and disinterested help, a large circle of friends, and great experience were invaluable.... The Relief Fund's headquarters were at West Halkin Street, where all letters were opened, but it soon became necessary to have special offices, first at Apsley House, by kind permission of the Duke of Wellington, then at the Alexandra Hotel, where rooms were generously provided by the management.

Comte De Lalaing (envoyé extraordinaire et ministre plénipotentiaire)

A Book of Belgium's Gratitude

John Lan, the Bodley Head (1916)

The Sketch

4 November 1914

On 29 October 1914, thanks by the Belgian consul, Mr. G.O. Wight was made in the Sunderland Daily Echo and Shipping Gazette. The Belgian Consul-General in London, Mr. E Pollet writes the follows:

"I beg to let you know that money given to the above fund (Belgian Relief Fund) is continually being sent over to Belgium, where it is in great need. The Germans have occupied the country, but the millions of Belgians remaining in it want to be helped, as they are without work and food."

On August 21, 1914, a letter was published in the Shoreditch Observer from King Albert's sister the Duchess of Vendome in thanks for the gift of £1.000 to the Belgian relief fund:

Belmont House Park Side, Wimbledon, August 15th

My Lord - Deeply touched by the sympathy shown by you all for our valiant and noble Belgians. I thank you and the corporation of the city of London for the magnificent gift you sent so generously to the Belgian Fund.

My brother, King Albert, and all our countrymen will be very grateful when they hear how kind you have been. The hearts of our beloved countries are linked together in an eternal bond of friendship and gratitude.

Believe me, always yours truly,

Henriette, Duchess of Vendôme

Princess of Belgium.

12 November 1914

The Belgian Legation states that it may interest those who generously subscribed towards the purchase of and gift of a new supply of medical stores for the Belgian Army to learn the Major A. A. Gordon, hon. organiser of the Belgian Relief Fund, thos stores to the Inspector-General of the Medical Departement, at the new Belgian base last week-end.

Amongst recent donations for Belgian relief have been £5,000 from Sir William and Lady Hartley, and £6,500 from Lord Ashton, who previously had subscribed £10,000

Report by Major Gordon in 1917

The "Belgian Relief Fund" was started immediately after the invasion of Belgium, having been initiated by the Comte de Lalaing, the Belgian Minister in London.

The funds collected down to 22nd January, 1917, amount, according to the statement by the Bank, to £1,214,767 17s. 11d. (or 30,369,206 francs), and are still increasing, although slowly.  The fact is that since the spring of 1915 little progess has been made because I was officially requested to make no further appeals to the public in order not to divert subscriptions from the newly-founded "National Committee for Relief in Belgium."

By the beginning of 1916 the receipts had so far declined that it was found unnecessary to continue to maintain a special office and staff. The Belgian Legation has undertaken to receive and acknowledge subscriptions made since 22nd January, 1916.

Annexed is a list of articles, mostly presented to the "Belgian Relief Fund," which were kindly collected, packed, and despatched by Messrs. Harrods, Ltd., of Brompton Road. Several of the parcels reached the Belgian advanced lines within twenty-four hours from the time of their purchase in London.

I desire to draw special attention to the striking generosity of the Colonies, and to the splendid and most useful benefactions of Lord Ashton and Mr Walter Morrison. Grateful thanks are also due to the ladies and gentlemen who so kindly and efficiently took part in the work of the office, and to the Proprietors of the Alexandra Hotel, Hyde Park Corner, who gratuitously placed rooms at our disposal.

As regards railway facilities for the transport of the goods, I was deeply indebted to the good offices and practical experience of Sir Francis Dent, Manager of the South Eastern and Chatham Railway, and Mr Graeme Thomson, CB, Director of Transports to the Admiralty.