Paper items



The envelope was bought on a Belgium auction site and has an important connection with an anecdote between Major Gordon, Major Preudhomme and King Albert I of Belgium. In 1916, King Albert ordered Major Preudhomme to check on the Royal children with Lord Curzon at Hackwood. He also said that the children should write letters to the Pope because his excellency had sent gifts to La Panne for them. The letters were then to be delivered to Major Gordon in order to deliver them. Once the letters arrived at Apsley House, Major Gordon put them in a large envelope and posted them to the Vatican. After his return to La Panne, King Albert asked who delivered the letters. Major Gordon then knew he had made a mistake and said he had posted them in London. The King was naturally surprised but calmly said: "Well I fancy it will be the first time such a package would be delivered to his excellency by Post."

The contents of this envelope is not been discovered.



This book is mentioned in the final chapter of Major Gordon’s memoirs and was sold out in the first year that it was published. To find an originally signed example with its original dust jacket is naturally a treasure for the Kings Messenger Collection. The book was found in America two months ago and was bought afterwards. The Kings Messenger collection contained already a copy without the dust jacket so it was not until now that we actually had the chance to see the original dust jacket. The dust jacket mentions ‘Schneider/Gordon, Church of the Multiplying’ on the spine and holds a photograph of possibly one of the first discoveries of the mosaic. It also contains a wonderful introduction on the inner side. The back of the dust jacket is plain


The book Culled from a Diary was written by A. A. Gordon on the request of many friends. Gordon thanks in his preface the famous Scottish novelist Anna Mesterton Buchan, who published under the alias O. Douglas, for her support. The second person Gordon thanks in his preface is his old friend and supreme commander during the Battle of Antwerp, Lord Mottistone. Lord Mottistone also wrote the foreword for the book in October 1939. The last person Gordon thanks is Dom Ernest Graf from St. Marys Church in Devon, for his (spiritual)advice and support for writing this book.

Gordon let his readers know, that the book was written on the basis of his personal diaries, other than from memory. The book contains 17 chapters with the appendix of Gordon's rapport to Winston Churchill over the Battle of Antwerp. In total 214 pages here written and published. On the paper jacket of the book mentions Gordon many world-famous people he had the pleasure to meet and serve with. 

The book was published in 1941 with Oliver and Boyd, Edinburgh. The original price for the book was 8 pounds, 6 shilling. 

How many editions where published is still unknown to us.


‘A book of Belgium’s gratitude’ was published in 1916 and contained comprising literary articles by representative Belgians, together with their translations by various hands, and illustrated throughout in colour and black and white by Belgian artists. Major Gordon was mentioned in the book as a translator. The book was published in recognition of the help and hospitality given by the British Empire and of the relief bestowed by the United States of America during the Great War. A committee was formed with King Albert of Belgian as Patron and Belgian Minister H.E. Paul Huysmans as president. In the committee, we found two the two famous Belgian artists Emile Claus and Emile Cammaerts as well as Paul Lambotte, former Director of the Museum of ‘BeauxArts’. The profits of the book were placed at the disposal to her Majesty Queen Mary.

The first two letters in the book were written by King Albert and Queen Elisabeth in their original handwriting. The letter of King Albert was translated by the Right Hon. The Earl of Curzon of Kedleston. While the letter of Queen Elisabeth was translated by none other than Major A. A. Gordon, M.V.O. The translation reads:

“The generosity of Great Britain and her Colonies, and of the United States of America, is a magnificent example of charity. Moved by this unanimous spirit of touching solicitude for Belgium, I join with all those who have written their names in this book, in order to express my profound gratitude to these two great nations for the help which they have rendered to our countrymen during this time of sore trial.”

On page 28, we found the chapter ‘Le Belgian Relief Fund’which was written by Comte de Lalaing ( ministerplénipotentiaire). The article published in French was translated by the author from page 34. In both articles, Comte de Lalaing thanked Major Gordon in the following words: “Before Antwerp fell several steamers laden with provisions and clothes 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, his large circle of friends, and his great experience were invaluable.


The signatures were placed in Major Gordon's guestbook during the honeymoon of Elsie Knocker and Baron de T'Serclaes de Rottendael in England by the end of January 1916.


Major Gordon states the following in his book 'Culled from a Diary' over Albert de Bassompierre:

"I was met on berthing at a quay at Antwerp by a high representative of the Belgian Foreign Office, Monsieur Albert de Bassompierre - now Baron Bassompierre, until recently Belgian Ambassador to the court of the Mikado at Tokio, Japan - a most charming gentleman and a fluent speaker of English, in fact the most perfect I have ever heard from a foreigner. I am pleased to add that I am fortunate in having this gentleman as a very good friend to this day."


In 1909 James Fergusson founders of the 9th Volunteer Battalion Highlanders the Royal Scots published a chronicle account of the military history of the battalion. The book holds several photographs of his personal collection, featuring Major A. A. Gordon some 8 times. The book gives all the commissions of the officers and their personal history with the battalion. 

James Fergusson became prior of his commission the Sherriff of Argyll and was graduated as a lawyer. He has commissioned the commander of the 9th Royal Scots on 24 July 1900. Because of his connection with the court, it is not surprising that many of the officers where also a lawyer. One of them being the later famous Captain Alexander Taylor, who unfortunately died in the Scarpe Valley on 27 April 1917, after having fought in the most gruesome fights of the First World War.


Standing order of the 9th Battalion (Highlanders) the Royal Scots is not a reference work but an actual guide for the men of the battalion to follow instructions accurately. This edition was written by Lt. Colonel A. S. Blair, commanding officer of the battalion, in august 1913. Alexander Stevenson Blair was commissioned as a captain in the battalion on 12 December 1900. Prior to his commission, he was a colleague of Ferguson and of course a lawyer. From 1915 till 1917 he served in France during the First World War and was mentioned in dispatches twice.

The guide holds 14 sections and several appendixes. On the front page, the name D. Bell was written together with the date 1914. From Mr Gilhooley's index, we found an officer David Bell who was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in the battalion on 31 March 1909 and served as a captain in the First World War, where he was wounded and his leg had to be amputated.


Major Gordon met Victor Rousseau after he was assigned by Queen Elisabeth, to contact mister Rousseau for creating the now known Elisabeth Medal. Later on, Victor Rousseau made also a design for a badge called: Ouevre du vetement des soldats Belges Londres (1914-1915).


Major General Forbes Macbean was an army officer en Aide-de-Camp of King Edward VII. He was born in 1857 as son of Forbes Macbean (1825) and Frances Macbean. Forbes married Mary Katherine Macbean en they got a son, Duncan Gillies Forbes Macbean in 1893. Duncan was born on the Royal Military College in Surrey on the 19th July 1893 and was educated at Aysgarth School, Bedale, Yorkshire. Afterwards, he was sent to Wellington College, Crowthorne, Berkshire from 1907 till 1911. The following year he was educated as a Gentleman Cadet at the Royal Military College of Sandhurst. He has commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant with the 2nd Battalion, Gordon Highlanders.

On the outbreak of the war, Duncan was sent to France on 7th October 1914. On 28th October 1914, he was wounded in the Gheluvelt, Belgium, during the First Battle of Ypres. On 30th October 1914, he was promoted to full lieutenant and was made Temporary Captain on 16 June 1915. Only two days before he was killed in action at Festubert, Artois, France. Duncan is buried in the Gorre British and Indian Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France. He is commemorated on the Camberley War Memorial.

Duncan was the Godson of Colonel Forbes Macbean, 92nd Gordon Highlanders, Sergeant-at-Arms of Queen Victoria. He also was the nephew of Sir Willian Macbean K.C.B., K.T.S, 92nd Gordon Highlanders.

The relationship between Major General Macbean and Major Gordon is discovered in the book: the 9th battalion (Highlanders) Royal Scots by James Fergusson. The then Colonel Forbes Macbean was in command of the 33rd Brigade who had to take a defensive position against the 31st Brigade with the 9th Royal Scots at the training-camp of Stobs in 1905. The 31st Brigade won the manoeuvres and was congratulated by the Scottish command.


Sabine De Franqueville was born in Paris in 1877. She married with the duke Robert M Léon d'Ursel on the 12th of April 1898 and the couple got three children.  The Duke and Duchess were arrested by the Germans in 1915 in Brussel, for furnishing money to Belgians wishing to escape to join the Belgian Army in Britain.

Major Gordon states the following in his book:

"During the afternoon I went to see Colonel Comte de Jonghe d'Ardoye, a delightful Belgian Officer. He drove me to Hazebrouck to call on another Belgian officer, Duc d'Ursel, married to our old friend Comtesse Sabine de Franqueville. We partook of tea before returning to St. Omer."


Francois de Buisseret was the second son of Count Conrad de Buisseret and Caroline Sherman Story, who was the daughter of the American General John Patten Story. His mother died in December 1914 when she was serving as a nurse in a Belgian field hospital when she was infected with diphtheria. Francois' father was the Belgian ambassador in Russia during this time, and couldn't reach Caroline before her death, because of the unrests in that country. Caroline's mother took a heroic journey to Europe, in the time of the worst submarine attacks during the war, to take the children to America. The American press states that a boy by the age of 16 was enlisted in the Belgian Army, several weeks before the death of his mother. It must be believed that this was François because he was born in 1899 and his younger brother was too young by the end of 1914. The connection between François and Major Gordon is rather unknown.



The first time Major Gordon mentions Count d’Ardoye in La Panne was in the spring of1915. In the afternoon of April 11, 1915, Major Gordon found himself in the company of then Colonel Comte de Jonghe d’Ardoye. Both when drove towards Hazebrouck in order to meet Duc Robert d’Ursel. Major Gordon who was friends with Robert d’Ursel wife, Comtesse Sabine Franquevillehad tea with them and returned to St. Omer. Major Gordon recalls an important story of count de Jonghe d’Ardoye in his book “Culled from a diary”on page 86:

“Count de Jonghe had been attached to his Sovereign during the latter’s visit, towards the close of last June or early July, to the German Emperor and had had a conversation with him. He, the Kaiser, spoke quite freely about the state of Europe, and remarked, “I do not wish war, but if anyone attacks me I shall crush him.”

The Count added that he was of such an extraordinary nature and with such a violent and erratic temper that he was quite like to say when in a rage, “Spare no one or anything!” The second 10,

time Major Gordon mentioned the company of count de Jonghe was during the visit of Lord Curzon early in 1916. After Lord Curzon arrived at La Panne, count de Jonghe informed the visitors that decorations will be given by the King. The first one who was decorated was Lord Curzon, who received the Grand Gordon of the Order of Leopold. It was during this ceremony that Major Gordon received the cross of officer of the Order of Leopold.

Comte de Jonghe d’Ardoye was born in Rhode-Saint-Genèseon August 26, 1861in the Belgian noble family of d’Ardoye who was descendant from ‘Waasland’. His father Louis de Jonghe d’Ardoye was Belgian minister of state. Comte André de Jonghe d’Ardoye was married to Geneviève de Wykerslooth de Rooyesteynbut the couple received no children. In 1912, comte d’ardoye became an Aide-de-Camp to King Albert and was one of the most trusted members of the Belgian military Royal Household. During the outbreak of the war in 1914, he was the Commander of the 1er Régiment de Guides. Afterwards, he was appointed “Officier de Liaison auprès le Quartier Général Britanniqueand in 1917 was appointed Chef de la Mission Belge près la Légation de Belgique à Londrestill 1919. He received the rank of Lt. Général and became an Aide-de-Camp to King Leopold III from 1934 till 1936. He died in Brussels on December 1936


Sir Donald Mackenzie Wallace was the person who forwarded Major Gordon's name to the Duke of Wellington for the position of Private Secretary.

Sir Wallace was a guest together with the Russian diplomat Friedrich Martens in Major Gordon's house during the 1904 Conference of the Institute of International Law in Edinburgh.

The Principal festivity was a banquet given by the Scots Bar in Parliament Hall and Major Gordon was asked by Lord Reay to take up the duty of Honorary Secretary for the event. For his involvement, he received a large octagonal silver salver with facsimile signatures and was later awarded with Spanish and Portuguese decorations.


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.



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