Private William Brown Gordon


William Brown Gordon was born on 27 May 1892 at Tamlet, Monaghan, the fifth of six children of farmer William Gordon and his wife Sarah (née Brown). He grew up on the family farm, but by the time of the 1911 Census was living at 43 Market Street, Monaghan, and working as a grocery and hardwarde apprentice.

William, with his brother James Gordon, enlisted in the North Irish Horse on 14 January 1915 (No.1403). On 17 November 1915 they embarked for France with F Squadron, which at the time was serving as divisional cavalry to the 33rd Division.

In June 1916 F Squadron combined with C Squadron and the 6th (Inniskilling) Dragoons Service Squadron to form the 2nd North Irish Horse Regiment, serving as corps cavalry to X Corps until September 1917, when the regiment was disbanded and its men transferred to the infantry. Gordon was one of 70 men given the job of conducting the regiment's horses to Egypt, to be handed over for use by mounted units there. They embarked from Marseilles on board HMT Bohemian on 25 August. After a month at Alexandria they returned to France, via Italy. On 5 October 1917 they arrived at the 36th (Ulster) Division Infantry Base Depot at Harfleur for infantry training, and after just a few days were posted to the 9th (Service) Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers – which had been renamed the 9th (North Irish Horse) Battalion – joining it in the field at Ruyaulcourt on 12 October. Gordon was issued regimental number 41574 and posted to D Company.

He probably saw action with the battalion at the Battle of Cambrai in November and December 1917.

Gordon was one of the many posted as missing following the 9th (NIH) Battalion's fighting withdrawal from St Quentin from 21 to 28 March 1918 during the German spring offensive. It was later learned that he had been wounded. Following his recovery he rejoined the battalion.

He was wounded again, in the left arm, during the the Advance to Victory offensive, probably in the successful attack near Bailleul on 24 August. The 9th (NIH) Battalion's casualties on the day were four officers wounded, five other ranks killed and one believed killed, and 53 other ranks wounded.

Gordon was admitted to the 18th General Hospital on 25 August and evacuated to the UK on 3 September. On 27 March 1919, the wound having healed, he was demobilised and transferred to Class Z, Army Reserve.

After the war Gordon and his brother James lived for a time at 33 Lothair Avenue, Belfast. On 26 December 1931 he married Mary (Mollie) McIlwaine in the Carryduff Presbyterian Church, County Down.