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.
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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