Captain William Eagleson Gordon

Gordon Highlanders

11th July 1900
Captain William Eagleson Gordon VC

    On July 11, 1900, at Leehoehoek (or Dornboschfontein), a spirited action was fought against the Boers, whose fire atonly 850 yards was so terribly severe that the Artillery horses were unable to stand against it. Captain Gordon, however, determined to attempt to drag one of the guns into shelter by hand. To accomplish this, a drag-rope had first to be fastened to it, which task of fearful risk, by reason of the hail of lead raining on any one exposing himself, he elected to carry out himself. Calling for volunteers, and instructing them to dash out on the instant he should sign to them that all was ready, he made for the gun, fastened the rope to it, signalled to his men, who promptly doubled out, and all commenced hauling. Of the gallant band, three men were severely, and Captain Younger mortally, wounded ; whereupon, seeing that further attempts would only mean increased casualties, Captain Gordon ordered the remainder under cover of a kopje, saw personally to the wounded, and then himself retired. During the entire affair his conduct is described as having been most admirable, the handling of his men as masterly, and his devotion, on every occasion under fire, most remarkable. (See account of Captain Younger, V.C.)

   Captain W. E. Gordon is the son of the late W. E. Gordon, M.D., of Bridge-of-Allan, Stirlingshire, where he was born on May 4, 1866. Educated at Edinburgh University ; entered the 1st Gordon Highlanders, then in Ceylon, on June 6, 1888. His, first active service was with the Chitral Relief Expedition in 1895, for which he was awarded the (new) Frontier Medal and two clasps (Malakand). Two years later he served through the Tirah Campaign, being present at the storming of the Dargai Heights (clasp to medal). Was Adjutant of his battalion during the Boer War, being dangerously wounded at Magersfontein, December 11, 1899 ; twice mentioned in despatches ; received Queen's and King's medal with seven clasps and the Victoria Cross, which latter decoration was placed on his breast by Lord Kitchener at Pretoria on Peace Thanksgiving Day, June 1902.


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