Captain Robert Wilson Gordon


Unit : "F" Company, 1st Battalion The Royal Ulster Rifles

Service No. : 96687

Awards : Military Cross, Mentioned in Despatches


Robert Wilson "Bobby" Gordon was born at Hilden House, Lisburn, Co. Antrim, Ireland, on the 3rd March 1915, and was educated at Harrow. In May 1940, Lieutenant Gordon was with the 2nd Battalion The Royal Ulster Rifles in France, where he was Mentioned in Despatches, probably for his skill in navigating a route for the Battalion in darkness as the British Expeditionary Force began to withdraw. Promoted to Captain in 1941, he transferred to the 1st Battalion and became Second-in-Command of "F" Company, containing the Anti-Tank and Medium Machine Gun platoons. He was awarded the Military Cross for his conduct in Normandy, and for his later service as Brigade Major of the 3rd Parachute Brigade in the Ardennes and Germany, where, jumping with Battalion Headquarters of the 8th Parachute Battalion on the Rhine Crossing, 24th March 1945, he was amongst the very first British airborne troops to land in Germany. His citation reads:


Major Gordon landed by glider in Normandy on D Day and was in charge of the Royal Ulster Rifles 6-pounder Anti-tank guns, who were responsible for the anti-tank defence of Longueval. During the early days the village was repeatedly attacked by strong armoured forces from 21st Panzer Division. These attacks were driven off and several enemy tanks knocked out. His inspiring leadership and courage during these battles contributed to a great extent to the successes achieved by his Battalion.


In early August 1944 Major Gordon assumed the appointment of Brigade Major, 3rd Parachute Brigade, and carried out his duties with outstanding success during the battles in the Bois de Bavent and the Brigade's advance to the Seine which concluded in September 1944.


He was with the Brigade throughout the battles in the Ardennes in the Winter of 1944-45.


After playing a leading part in the Brigade planning for the Rhine offensive, he dropped with them over the Rhine on the 24th March 1945. His complete disregard for danger and imperturbable disposition contributed in no small way to the great successes achieved by the Brigade immediately on their re-organisation at the conclusion of their drop.


After the breakout from the Rhine bridgehead until the Brigade reached Wismar on the Baltic, Major Gordon's outstanding staff work, calm judgment and advice contributed largely to the success of the Brigade's operation.


Throughout the campaign in France and Germany from 6th June 1944 to 10th May 1945 Major Gordon's great devotion to duty and complete disregard of danger have proved an inspiring example to all ranks in the Brigade.


He first married Joan Kenchington in 1946, and Dianna Evelyn Venice Tyrwhitt-Drake in 1967, and had a daughter, Sarah. He passed away in London on the 13th January 1993.


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