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.