The Brothers Gordon

Life for Alexander Gordon of Greenmount in the Darling Downs changed on 15th August 1914. On that day, his son Leslie, a 23 year old road works contractor, enlisted for service with the 2nd Light Horse Regiment and was shipped off soon after to France on the HMAT A15 Star of England.

Leslie was followed by his older brother Harvey, 26, who enlisted later that month. Then brother Norman, 19, enlisted on the 1st of September 1914; 18 year old Huntley joined up in April 1915; brother Douglas, 19,  enlisted on the 21st September 1915, only to be joined a day later by the last of the Gordon brothers, Kenneth, who had just turned 19 years old.

That’s six brothers. Among the tales of tragedy told all over Australia, Alexander Gordon had reason to profoundly understand the suffering faced by families of servicemen with 6 sons enlisting within just over a year of each other.

The brothers enjoyed the spectrum of what military life has to offer. Leslie obtained the Commemorative Anzac Medal; Kenneth went on to serve in WW2 and also earned medals; and Norman rounded out the experiences with a service record in Egypt of gambling, disobedience and a hospital visit for V.D.

The Great War is littered with stories of siblings lost to warfare. 2800 sets of Australian brothers perished between 1915 and 1918 at Gallipoli, Palestine and on the Western Front.

More surprisingly, in this case, is that all six of the brothers Gordon survived WW1 and were shipped home. Imagine the atmosphere at the Gordon home when all the brothers reunited under the same roof after the trauma of warfare.

It’s good to know that not all stories of siblings in war ended in tragedy and that the odds – no matter how stacked – can sometimes be defied. Even better is when we find these stories in our collection here at SLQ.

Alexander Gordon and his six sons, Harvey, Leslie, Douglas, Norman, Huntley and Kenneth. Page 22 of the Queenslander Pictorial supplement to The Queenslander 23 October 1915

Alexander Gordon and his six sons, Harvey, Leslie, Douglas, Norman, Huntley and Kenneth. Page 22 of the Queenslander Pictorial supplement to The Queenslander 23 October 1915

 

Each week we will be sharing news stories from the week 100 years ago, and we invite you to add your thoughts and comments.

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Want to join in and find and correct newspaper articles from 1914 and 1915? Here’s more information about how to get started text correcting newspaper articles on Trove as a Pitch In! digital volunteer.

If you find something you’d like to share we’d love to hear from you at discovery@slq.qld.gov.au

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What an incredible story. I love the photo of Mr Alexander Gordon of Greenmount, Darling Downs, Queensland and his six sons. They certainly deserved a feature page!!

Isn't it great? Mr. Gordon looks a very proud father indeed. Glad you enjoyed their story.

thank you so much for this story. As a great great nephew of the 6 brothers you can imagine my pride. It is a phenomenal story. The brothers had one sister - it must have been an incredible burden for her being left behind to support her parents! In relation to Leslie you may be interested to know that after 7 months on Gallipoli he was medically discharged in 1916 and returned to Australia but after his recovery he re-enlisted and was sent to the Western front where he was gassed. He finally returned to Australia in 1919 after recovering in an English hospital.

Greg - thank you for getting in touch and adding more context to this story! It's fantastic to reach the relatives of our Anzacs and we're glad to contribute to the brothers legacy. If you are interested in a copy of the picture featured in this blog post, you can either download it as a high resolution image or order a photographic print from SLQ. Follow this link for details:http://www.slq.qld.gov.au/services/copies-loans/image-orders

Douglas Gordon was my maternal grandfather and it is so lovely to see this article. We have the original photo with my great grandfather in his military outfit. This is a very special piece and every bit of information I can get on the family is fantastic. Thank you.

Dee, you are most welcome. It was a fascinating story to research and I'm glad the legacy of your grandfather and his brothers lives on. Another relative of the Gordon family commented above - may I suggest a family reunion could be possible? As I mentioned above, if you are interested in a copy of the picture featured in this blog post, you can either download it as a free high resolution image or order a photographic print from SLQ. Follow this link for details:http://www.slq.qld.gov.au/services/copies-loans/image-orders

Hey I'm doing a history assignment on soldiers in ww1 and I was told that I'm related to this family , so I was wondering if I could get any more info on leslie, or Kenneth??

Hi Inde!Sorry for the delay - I have been in Sydney and just returned today. If you're still looking for information you can email me at jacinta.sutton@slq.qld.gov.au with some details and we'll do our best.RegardsJacinta