Gordon Military Facts

Did you know the House of Gordon has a tradition of military service dating back to 1053AD?

That was the beginning of more than 950 years of continuous military service by Clan Gordon! Our tradition of military service has always been a major part of who we are and we have a Wall of Honor to mark the service of our members.

malcolm III and margaret

Were you aware Adam de Gordon came to Scotland with Malcolm III (Malcolm Ceanmor) to help him get his throne back from MacBeth? 

Yes the same MacBeth Shakespeare wrote about! In 1053 AD Adam came to fight for Malcolm. He was also given lands in Berwickshire in the Roxburgh District (on the border) for his help. Adam later died in battle at Alnwick in 1093 fighting with Malcolm to regain lands in Northumbria.

Sir Robert Gordon of Gordonstoun, known as the Wizard of Gordonstoun, was the first to make sure his men wore the same tartan in battle!

In 1618 he wrote Murray of Pulrossie requesting that he bring the plaids that his men wore “into harmonie with that of his other septs!” It was a red Gordon tartan!

Many people will try to tell you that Clan Gordon did not have a tartan of it’s own and wears the military tartan of the Gordon Highlanders, but don’t you believe them! They are dead wrong and the Wizard of Gordonstoun will tell them so!

Did you know Alexander, 4th Duke of Gordon raised several Scottish Regiments for Great Britain? 

In 1793 he requested Forsyth of Huntly to create a new tartan for him based on the Military tartan (Black Watch). Forsyth made three versions with a yellow overcheck. The Duke chose the single line check for himself and authorized his new regiment to wear it! BUT that regiment was NOT the Gordon Highlanders! It was the Gordon Fencibles which he raised in 1793 and served as Colonel-in-Chief!  The Fenibles regiments were like the National Guard is here– the first line of defense at home.

Alexander with the help of his wife and daughters raised the Gordon Highlanders the following year in 1794. His son, George Marquis of Huntly, served as Colonel-in Chief, and authorized the regiment to wear his crest as their cap badge! Alexander also authorized them to wear his own new tartan which they made famous around the world! They became the most highly decorated of all the British regiments and Winston Churchill said they were “the finest regiment that ever was!”

Can you imagine serving in the navy for almost your whole life? Admiral James Alexander Gordon served in the Royal Navy for 76 years!

He joined the navy as an 11 year old boy and quickly rose through the ranks. He was one of Admiral Nelson’s captains during the war with France, and was the last living of Nelson’s captains. Admiral James Alexander Gordon won a gold medal for his actions at the Battle of Lissa in 1811. Later that year he had a leg blown off while commanding the Pomone near Corfu. Losing a leg didn’t stop him! In 1814 he came to America for the War of 1812 and took his ships up the Potomac and captured Alexandria, Virginia and Fort Warburton (later called Fort Washington). Then he went to Baltimore and his bombardment of Fort McHenry inspired Francis Scot Key to write our National Anthem the Star Spangled Banner! His life was the primary inspiration for C.S. Forester’s character Horatio Hornblower!

Sure you’ve seen the Marine Corps Monument at Arlington and the raising of the flag by the US Marines at Iwo Jima during WWII, but what does that have to do with Clan Gordon?

Did you know that among the first wave of Marines to land on Iwo Jima were some pipers? Capt. Joe Cason and a few other pipers landed with their pipes and began piping the men ashore to none other than Cock O’ The North! You got that right it was a Gordon piping the men ashore! Ooh Rah!