IH Gordon Second Father Letter

Gordon IH Second Father Letter 1
Gordon IH Second Father Letter 2
Gordon IH Second Father Letter 3
Gordon IH Second Father Letter 4

28th Sept. 1917



My dear Mr. Christison.

Very many thanks for your kind letter of sympathy with us in the loss of our son Hugh. The news came by telegram from the Indian Office, saying that he was reported “dead”. This was followed by a letter intimating that he was “found shot dead” on 2nd Sept.

I can’t help thinking it was the result of an accident, not shooting perhaps. “Found” seems to imply that he was alone, not one of a patrol, or of a scouting party, & if they know that he died on 2nd, some one must have seen him alive on that date before he was “found dead”. However the India Office promises further information, should any come to hand.

His head quarters have for a long time been at Tanga, on the coast, so we suppose he must have died at that place. He leaves a widow [& little?] daughter. The former is in India, & is not likely to be permitted to leave during the war, owing to submarine danger. The little daughter is with one of my daughters, in England.

Hugh has been with his Regiment, 56th Rifles, all the time he has been in India, stationed at various frontier posts, with Kohat as H.Q.. At the outbreak of the War, British Officers were [resigned?] to the Imperial Service Troops belonging to the native [Ragals?], [2] & Hugh was appointed as Special Service Officer with the Maharaja of Kapurthala’s Infantry (400). [They?] left India I think in September or October ’14, & landed at Pemba in Tanga, & were put in the Line of Communications. Soon after they were in the first [bunch?], in which we were licked, & the “Coppertails” (as the Kapurthala Infantry was nicknamed) did not distinguish themselves! This was the only fighting Hugh has experienced so far as we know. He has had a lot of malarial fever & been several times in hospitals, and they managed to drown the germs, & latterly he has been very fit & strong.

He has had charge of some 500 miles of the Line of Communications to look after – much worry & anxiety & no [thanks?]. His travels were Dar-es-Salaam – Bajamoyo – Sanjani – Pangani – Korogure – Wilhelmstad – Momba – Amani – Tanga – Voi – Saneta & Mathi. (I wonder if you have a map to show these places, probably not!).

At Tanga, he had much trouble with the Germans left there, who seem to have been a troublesome lot (mostly women), & he had to be peacemaker. As he is a good German scholar, the people liked him, as intercommunication was easy without go betweens. His last letter (July) sent snapshots of German prisoners embarking to Egypt. He wishes the ladies & others could be separated – the lot cleared out. [3]

I hope your lot has been cast in pleasant parts, & that you have been far from major bombardments – we had excitement on the moonlight [sic] nights of 24th & 25th, & the firing of the guns around us was somewhat startling at times. It is extraordinary that in the very many raids we have had the Germans have done so little damage, & that in all the [????] they have [??????] in London not a single important building has been damaged. It seems impossible that we can always escape scot-free in future.

An Alleynian, Hickie, from Gallipoli, came [4] to see us some weeks ago, & told us he had met several Dulwich College men out there. He mentioned Gibbons (Scottie?) as having won a D.S.O. & M.C. Hickie came over with the Australians & was all along in Gallipoli – got wounded & had to be invalided out of the army.

Kind regards from Mrs. Gordon of course

Yours Sincerely

D.C. Gordon