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 William Francis Gordon

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Mike Morley



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PostSubject: William Francis Gordon   Thu Mar 20, 2014 9:48 am

Hi

I've been going round the cemeteries of the Machars in Dumfries and Galloway photographing military-related gravestones and memorial inscriptions for the Scottish War Graves Forum. I came across one in Whithorn Church cemetery which included the inscription: "Also in memory of William Francis Gordon killed at the battle of Zlobani, South Africa on 18th March 1879 aged 28 years.

It was only when I Googled Zlobani that I came across your interesting forum. Can anyone confirm that this man fought and fell at Zlobani. What military unit did he serve with and would he have been buried close to where he died.

Hope someone can help.

Mike
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90th

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PostSubject: William Francis Gordon    Thu Mar 20, 2014 1:21 pm

Hi Mike
Welcome to the Forum , the Battle Of Hlobane was fought on the 28th March , not the 18th . Many of those who were killed at Hlobane werent buried , they were thrown over the ledges / cliffs by the zulu's , some while still alive according to reports I've read on the battle . As it was a defeat to the British forces this was also another reason many werent buried . It seems several of the Officers who were KIA were indeed buried on the day of the battle , some others at a later date from memory .Looking through the roll , as I'm not home so dont have my other books to cross reference , there is a Trooper .W.Goodman ( Gordon ? ) as it's written in the Roll
KIA , FLHorse , Entitled to Medal with Clasp 1879 , this medal was returned to Woolwich Mint . If Les is around he might be able to check his 'Tavender Roll ' Book for us .
Cheers 90th
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John Young

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PostSubject: Re: William Francis Gordon   Thu Mar 20, 2014 3:36 pm

Mike,

The contemporary casualty rolls list a Trooper W. Gordon, of the Frontier Light Horse as a casualty killed in action at the Battle of Hlobane.  One of the initial rolls lists that he was a resident of Port Elizabeth, South Africa.

Frankly, I believe this to be your man, however this has been confused by someone's much later interpretation of the medal roll of the Frontier Light Horse which was done in the 1970's based on a roll compiled in 1880, and it is not without error.  The problem is more recent researchers have accepted that interpretation and any errors contained in it have been perpetuated.  Hence what 90th has described above in his answer is actually derived from the erroneous compilation.

I have written on the Battle of Hlobane in the past and one of my accounts is on line at http://www.rorkesdriftvc.com/hlobane.htm (Admin, Sorry but the History.net link version is full of publisher's errors.)

John Y.
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Mike Morley



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PostSubject: Re: William Francis Gordon   Thu Mar 20, 2014 3:48 pm

Thanks to both of you for pointing me in the right direction so promptly. I must admit that this is a conflict that I know very little (shame on me!). I'll continue to keep an eye open for other casualties as I roam the D&G countryside, so I may well return!

Mike
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Chelmsfordthescapegoat

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PostSubject: Re: William Francis Gordon   Thu Mar 20, 2014 9:08 pm

Mike by the way " Scottish War Graves Forum " great website.  Salute 
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PostSubject: Re: William Francis Gordon   Thu Mar 20, 2014 9:31 pm

Hiya Mike, 90th. JY. yes Tavender..247 Gordon, W.
i am still looking, The Boiling Cauldron, nothing.
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90th

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PostSubject: William Francis Gordon    Fri Mar 21, 2014 4:27 am

All
I've looked in several other books regarding Hlobane no specific mention of our man W. Gordon 247 Frontier Light Horse .
I did find that in Terry Soles work ' For God , Queen & Colony ' in the Roll for the Frontier Light Horse he is listed as W. Gordon 247 , the name Gordon is circled , with Goodman written above it ( This being the Aldershot Roll ) , as I said earlier in the Forsyth Roll he's listed as Goodman with Gordon along side of it in brackets . His date of Enrolment is given as 6 / 12 / 78 , his date of Discharge is given as 1 / 6 / 79 , Engagements ; Killed Hlobane . What is a little strange is that all those from the FLH that were KIA Hlobane have their papers Discharged either the 28th or 29th March , Gordon is the only one were his Discharge date is after the 28th or 29th March ? . Then on further investigation there is another Roll in Sole's book which states ' FLH ; Those not on the Aldershot Roll '
, and there is a W. Gorman , Which states he was KIA Hlobane 28/3/79 , Born Port Elizabeth , Goodman on Medal Roll , Enlisted 6 / 12 / 78 . So it seems William Francis Gordon is also known as Goodman and Gorman according to the papers I have , Mike , it seems to me the real identity should read William Francis Gordon as you found on the tombstone .
Cheers 90th  scratch 
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John Young

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PostSubject: Re: William Francis Gordon   Fri Mar 21, 2014 3:58 pm

Gary,

The roll that Terry Sole has reproduced is the one that was compiled in the 1970's, that I referred to above.  That is why it is giving the name as 'Hlobane' rather than Zlobane or Zlobani.

Norris-Newman has him as Gordon.  Bellairs' roll that went to The London Gazette is the same.

Yet the 1970's roll has him discharged on 1st June 1879, despite being killed on 28th March 1879.  I've got good idea who compiled that roll, having seen his work elsewhere.

John Y.
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90th

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PostSubject: William Francis Gordon   Fri Mar 21, 2014 10:22 pm

Hi John
 Salute   You need to study mo 
Cheers 90th
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