WILLIAM HYDE EAGLESON GORDON was the oldest son of Major Gordon, a student of Haileybury College and a Cambridge undergraduate. At the First World War outbreak, he was in France, approving his French. He returned to England and immediately wanted to join his uncle's (Bt. Col. William Eagleson Gordon VC) regiment, the Gordon Highlanders. Lord Roberts VC, an acquaintance of his father, got both William and his younger brother Edmund into the regiments they had laid their heart upon.

William was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the 8th Gordon Highlanders and had to wait until May 1915 before participating in the war. Meanwhile, his uncle was imprisoned in Germany after the 1st Gordon Highlanders were forced to surrender during the Battle of Mons (august 1914). At the front, William was promoted to Lieutenant and served with gallantry. He and his brother were lucky enough to meet their father (who visited them from La Panne, Belgium) during their service at the front.

On September 25, 1915, William became involved in the battle of Loos, in which he suffered a headshot. He was evacuated to Etaples Military Hospital and succumbed to his wounds on September 30, 1915.

William is buried at Etaples Military Cemetery. In honour of his service and sacrifice, the cap badge of the Gordon Highlanders commemorated him!

EDMUND ROBERT ADAM GORDON was the youngest son of Major Gordon and a student at Haileybury College. Like his brother, he immediately joined the army after the outbreak of the First World War.

Edmund has commissioned a Second Lieutenant into the 7th Seaforth Highlanders. His regiment was placed into the same brigade as the 8th Gordon Highlanders, so both brothers mainly served together. After Edmund arrived in France, he participated in the Battle of Loos. After his brother had died of wounds, he suffered from Jaundice and Neurostania and was repatriated to England. After his recovery, he was an instructor in Machine gun courses. Later in the war, he returned to France, was incorporated into the Machine Gun Corps, and became wounded. He suffered first from a leg wound; afterwards, a bullet struck his right hand. After several operations, the doctors decided to amputate a portion of his hand and several fingers. After the war, he got married and received his son Peter. Tragically Peter died later on in his infancy. After the death of his mother in 1929, he was diagnosed with Tuberculosis (sustained from his war illness) and died in 1932.

In commemorating Edmund's service in the First World War, we dedicated this silver three-piece cap badge to him. The piece was made by the silversmith Henry Tatton.


The two challenge cups of Haileybury College have the engraving of W.H.E. Gordon. The cups are both dated with the dates 1911. Both are also presented as 2nd price for the Half-Mile and Mile running competition.

The cups are silver-plated and are both made by the Mappin & Webbs. They both have a stamped serial number under their feet. The oval one (right) measures 15 cm in height and its cup is 5,5 cm width. The more round one (left) measures 13 cm in height and its cup has a diameter of 6,5 cm. This one has also a wider base with a more raised decorated border while the other one has a decoration in the middle of the stem.   



ARCHIBALD DICK was Major Gordon's maternal grandfather who owned the Windsor Castle Estate in Jamaica. The Windsor Castle was a famous and notorious estate outside Kingstone during the end of the 18th and beginning of the 19th century. Many members of the Dick family oversaw the plantations which were worked by slaves.

During the abolition of the slave-trade, the Dick family became ruined and many of Archibald's children died within one week of yellow fever. The remaining Dick family returned to Edinburgh where Archibald died as a poor man.

On his world tour in 1887 Major Gordon visited the island of Jamaica and found the remains of the Windsor Castle estate with the help of a freed slave who had worked for his grandfather more than 50 years prior.


Oil painting from King Albert I of Belgian in the style of Richard N. Speaight by the known British artist A. Langfier. Richard N. Speaight was a British artist who was born in London and was commissioned to make a portrait of King Albert I of Belgium in 1917. The painting was later used for some Belgian stamp series. The painting in the Kings Messenger Collection was executed by A. Langfier also a London artist who inspired the commission on the painting of Speaight, as he states in the left under corner 'Cliché Speaight'. Whether Major Gordon commissioned the painting himself is unknown. The fact that it was found in his personal archive, makes it a great asset in the Kings Messenger Collection.

The painting is signed and dated 1918. On the back of the painting a label with the following is printed:

The Langfier productiens - 34 36 Oxford St. London WI.

The painting measures: 19 cm x 30,5 cm


Homehill was built by Major Gordon's father Dr. W.E. Gordon in Bridge of Allan. The mention had a long driveway and was situated on a small hill. After the death of Major Gordon's father Major Gordon's mother left it in the care of a relative who made the drawing.

In his later years, Major Gordon photographed the home in the 1930s and mentioned that it was renamed to Ben Royal.

It was in this house that the family received Lord and Lady Abercromby as well as Dr Simpson.

(Recipes from him, his wife and other family members)

The cookbook was donated by the Gordon family at the end of 2019, as an appreciation of the work done by the society. Although we were aware of its existence, we never actually had a look at it, until we opened the envelope when it arrived. Once we started to explore the book, we encountered many different handwriting and dates. While looking at the dates we made a timeline from 1890 till 1920. From the start, we had two persons in Gordon's family that got our interest in identifying the writer of the cookbook. This being Lizzie Maude Smith and Major Gordon's mother Emily M. Dick. Although Major Gordon has certainly written some recipes in the book, the majority of the handwriting is definitely not from his hand. One of the main thoughts that the cookbook was of Lizzie M. Smith/Gordon is because the book contains some handwritten pages of a Sunday School from 1890 and 1891.

The writing of 1890, mostly biblical, has the handwriting of a young person and is written with a pencil. The writing of 1891 is written with an Inkpen and bares the town name, Darlington. We decided to focus our first research on Lizzie M. Smith/Gordon and found that the writing of the Sunday School class' stoped in March 1891. We know that Lizzie got engaged with A. A. Gordon in the same year and got married in 1892. The possibility that the writing is one of Major Gordon's children is rather impossible because William and Edmund weren't born yet. The 'Cookbook' contains other than handwriting recipes also cut out articles. Some of the recipes are written by the owners. One of which we can connect to the Gordon family is the alias Hellie Gordon, nicknamed after Helene Gordon, Major Gordon's youngest sister.

On 7th February 1890, a biblical verse of H. Luke VIII was written in the cookbook in pencil. The verse tells about the duties of a farmer who has to plant the seed and rely on the power of God that it would grow. From there he can only wait. The second writing was written in the district of Darlington on the 26th of March 1891. Here the verse of Joshua III is written with an Inkpen: "Sanctify yourselves for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you.” In the census of 1891, we found Lizzie Maude Smith registered as a visitor of Darlington, so we can honestly say that it is certain that she is the author. He birthplace is mentioned as Twickenham, Surrey, England and she is listed as a visitor of Charles Herbert Backhouse, who was the headmaster of Stanhope Road 113. Lizzie, however, was accompanied by her twin Francis Alma Smith who is also registered as a visitor in the house. Charles Backhouse is listed together with his wife, two sons and two daughters in the census. Charles was the son of banker and Member of Parlement Edmund Backhouse and brother to Sir Jonathan Backhouse 1st Bt. 

Francis Alam Smith later married on 3rd September 1909 with the Advocate John Kirkpatrick, who was 20 years older than her. The exact relationship between the Smith family and the of Backhouse hasn't been found yet. However, we do know that Lizzie and her twin Francis didn't stay very long with the Backhouse family, as in the same year she was at Wimborne, Dorset where she met with A. A. Gordon and got herself engaged with him when visiting Colonel Randall (?) here.

(Major Gordon's family on his mothers side)