Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve, Hawke Bn. R.N. Division
Died 2 January 1918 age 23
Private R. R. Gordon – Royal Marines
On the outbreak of the First World War a brigade of Marines was formed for service ashore. Robert Gordon was one of these. At the time of his death he was serving as an Able Seaman of the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve, Hawke Bn. R.N. Division (Service no. ClydeZ/1754).
Gordon was born at Torphins on 25 November 1894, son of John Gordon, Farmer and Georgina Ingram who appear in the 1891 census at Pitmedden Farm, Craigmyle. In 1901 he was the youngest of 8 children. He was a younger brother of Private George Gordon who also features on the memorial (see Newsletter April 2015), who emigrated and joined the Australian Imperial Force. In 1911, aged 16, Robert Gordon was working on his father’s farm.
Gordon enlisted on 25 October 1914, the month before his twentieth birthday. At that point in time he was a farm servant, living still at Pitmedden. He was assigned to Benbow Battn, Blandford. In June 1915 he was transferred from Benbow to Anson Battn and despatched to Gallipoli. On 16 September 1915 he was taken ill with enteritis and transported by the hospital ship “Somali” to hospital on Malta. On 8 October 1915 he was sent back to England on the “Massilia” and admitted to Haslar Hospital with dysentery. By early November 1915 Gordon was fit enough to return to duty. In July 1916, having been transferred to Hawke Battn. B.E.F. , he disembarked at Boulogne from England where his unit joined the 63rd Royal Naval Division, and on 13 September 1916 he joined the 8th Entrenching Bttn. He had a period of leave from 29 August 1917 to 8 September 1917, which was probably his last.
He was 23 when he died of wounds to his left shoulder and back in the care of the 149th Royal Naval Field Ambulance, France on 2 January 1918, predeceasing by a few months his older brother George who died on 25 April. He is buried at Villers-Plouich Communal Cemetery.
No details of the precise circumstances of Gordon’s death have been found. However, the 63rd RN Division took part in the second battle of Passchendaele in October and November 1917, suffering massive losses, and were involved in the action of Welsh Ridge on 30 December 1917; his place of commemoration at Villers-Plouich Communal Cemetery suggests he was probably a casualty of those engagements.