Friday, January 05, 2007

19027 Pte David Gordon, King's Own - Killed on His 21st Birthday

Leonard Preston Gordon mentioned in Chailey's Parish Magazine (see previous post) was one of six serving brothers during the First World War. The Sussex County Herald published photos of the men in May 1918 and also the following article about Private D Gordon. I reproduce the article here in full.


No finer deed of heroism can be recorded than that which culminated in the death of Private D Gordon, King's Own Royal Lancashire [sic] Regiment, one of the six soldier sons of Mr and Mrs Alfred Gordon of Friars Walk, Lewes. On June 16 of last year this gallant young soldier left the safety of his trench to go to the assistance of a German soldier who was making his way, with dificulty, towards our lines. The danger attending the action was not unknown to the lad, for snipers were very busy and his own officer had tried to dissuade him from leaving the trench. Nevertheless with a cheery smile he rushed forward, and that was the last seen of him by his companions.

As night drew on and he did not return it was thought that he might have taken shelter in a shell hole, intending to crawl back after dark - some of his comrades crawled over the parapet and searched about in the darkness in the hope of finding him, but to no purpose. There were many bodies lying on the field - for there had been a stiff fight earlier in the day - bu Private Gordon could not be found and he was in consequence posted as missing.

The parents of the gallant young soldier have this week received an official communication intimating that the Records Office is now regretfully constrained to conclude that he was killed on June 16, the date, by a pathetic coincidence being the 21st birthday of the soldier. With the official intimation was sent the usual message of condolence from the King and Queen.

Private D Gordon who was working at Tunbridge Wells when the war broke out, had been in France since the early days of hostilities and had been twice wounded. He had only just returned to France after a period of convalescence in England when he made his noble sacrifice.

A Patriotic Family

Mr and Mrs Gordon have reason to be proud of their children. Of eight sons, six voluntarily enlisted at the beginning of the war. Five of them survive and are stationed in various parts of the world. The seventh son has just attained the age of 18, and, having received his calling up papers, will shortly proceed to the Colours, while the eighth, who is only sixteen years of age is employed in the telegraph office at the Lewes Railway Station and is therefore in Government employ. One of the daughters of Mr and Mrs Gordon is engaged in war work at Lewes and thus are nine members of this Lewes family doing their "bit" in the country's service.

Photographs of the six soldier sons of Mr Gordon are given on our pictures page.

The remainder of the article has been destroyed and lost. Soldiers Died in The Great War notes that 19027 Private David Gordon was serving with the 8th Battalion at the time of his death and that he was born in Lewes and enisted in London. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission gives the additional information that his middle name was Roland, that he was serving with D Company of the 8th KORL Regiment and that he was the son of Son of Alfred Preston Gordon and Mary Gordon, of 23, Friar's Walk, Lewes, Sussex. He is commemorated on Bay 2 of the Arras Memorial in France.

No comments: