John Rutherford (Jack O' Gibraltar) GORDON MC

Badge Number: 1504, Sub Branch: Stirling

GORDON, John Rutherford

Service Numbers: 159, Commissioned, 250854
Enlisted: 19 August 1914, Place of enlistment - Morphettville, South Australia. Served in the Citizen Forces 14th Battalion AMF from 1912 - August 1914.
Last Rank: Wing Commander
Last Unit: No. 3 Initial Training School Sandgate
Born: Gilberton, South Australia, 18 June 1895
Home Town: Unley Park, City of Unley, South Australia
Schooling: Adelaide High School and St Peter's College, Adelaide
Occupation: Clerk
Died: Natural causes, Repatriation General Hospital, Daw Park, Adelaide, South Australia, 11 December 1978, aged 83 years
Cemetery: Centennial Park Cemetery, South Australia
Memorials: Adelaide High School Honour Board, Hackney St Peter's College Honour Board, Unley Town Hall WW1 Honour Board
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World War 1 Service

19 Aug 1914: Enlisted AIF WW1, 159, 10th Infantry Battalion, Place of enlistment - Morphettville, South Australia. Served in the Citizen Forces 14th Battalion AMF from 1912 - August 1914.
1 Sep 1914: Promoted AIF WW1, Sergeant, 10th Infantry Battalion, Was Acting Sergeant from 28th August 1914.
20 Oct 1914: Embarked AIF WW1, Sergeant, 159, 10th Infantry Battalion, Embarked on HMAT 'A11' Ascanius from Adelaide on 20th October 1914, disembarking Egypt. Trained in Egypt until leaving with Third Brigade for further training on Lemnos, Greece in March till 24th April 1915 when landed with "A" Company 10th Battalion at Anzac Cove on 25th April 1915.
4 Aug 1915: Promoted AIF WW1, Second Lieutenant, 10th Infantry Battalion
26 Apr 1917: Transferred Second Lieutenant, Australian Flying Corps (AFC), Commenced pilot training at RAAF Point Cook but was unable to complete for Medical reasons.
21 Jun 1917: Embarked Second Lieutenant, Commissioned, Australian Flying Corps (AFC), Embarked on HMAT 'A29' Suevic from Melbourne on 21st June 1917, disembarking at Liverpool, England on 26th August 1917.
13 Dec 1917: Transferred Royal Australian Air Force, No. 62 Squadron (RAF)
28 Mar 1918: Promoted Lieutenant, Australian Flying Corps (AFC),
  • Qualified as Flying Officer (Observer) on probation on 28th December 1917.
  • Posted to Reading for training as Flying Officer (Pilot) on 13th July 1918
  • Qualified as Flying Officer (Pilot) on 25th February 1919
  • 22 Jun 1918: Honoured Military Cross,

    "When on offensive patrol in the vicinity of BAPAUME on 26th March, Lieut. J.R. Gordon, acting as observer to 2nd Lieut. W.E. Staton, destroyed 2 enemy aeroplanes and drove down a third out of control, all those machines falling to the ground W. of BAPAUME, their destruction being confirmed by other officers of the patrol.

    On 12th March, near CAMBRAI, he drove down a Fokker triplane, which was seen by other observers to be out of control close to the ground in a spin. Again on 21st March, flying with 2nd Lt. Staton, he destroyed a Fokker triplane, which was seen by other Pilots to crash to the ground in flames.

    On 25th March he effectively and repeatedly scattered massed bodies of the enemy by his accurate shooting from a height of 100 feet, thus delaying the enemy forming up for an attack upon our troops.

    (Sd.) J.M. Salmond, Major-General
    Commanding Royal Air Force
    in the Field.

    Sidenote : Lieutenant Gordon made 15 "kills" in total.

    13 Jul 1918: Transferred Lieutenant, Australian Flying Corps (AFC), Returned to England recommence his pilot training, being posted to the No. 1 School of Military Aeronautics at Reading and later flying the Avro 504 and S.E.5a.
    He graduated in February 1919,
    12 Mar 1919: Transferred Lieutenant, No. 8 Training Squadron, Australian Flying Corps
    14 Jul 1919: Discharged Lieutenant, Commissioned, No. 8 Training Squadron, Australian Flying Corps

    World War 2 Service

    1 Feb 1940: Enlisted Royal Australian Air Force, Flight Lieutenant, 250854, Place of enlistment - Adelaide, South Australia

    Prior to his enlistment John Rutherford Gordon MC served in the following
  • 1st May 1922 - Appointed Lieutenant Reserve of Officers Adelaide. Commission terminated on appointment to RAAF
  • 1st June 1927 - appointed Flying Officer RAAF and posted to No. 3 Squadron Point Cook
  • 1st August 1927 - transferred to RAAF Reserve until 28th February 1937
  • 5 Feb 1940: Transferred Royal Australian Air Force, Flight Lieutenant, Royal Australian Air Force,
  • 5th February 1940 - posted to RAAF Headquarters Melbourne
  • 19th February 1940 - posted to No. 5 Recruit Centre Adelaide
  • 1st October 1940 - promoted to Squadron Leader
  • 17th February 1941- posted to RAAF Headquarters Melbourne
  • 16th March 1941 - posted to No. 2 E.D. Sydney
  • 20th March 1941 - posted to RAAF Headquarters Melbourne
  • 17th April 1941 - posted as Australian Liasion Officer for Empire Training Scheme in Canada
  • 13th August 1942 - posted as Commanding Officer No. 6 Recruit Depot Queensland
  • 18th May 1942 - posted to RAAF Headquarters
  • 1st December 1942 - promoted to Wing Commander
  • 2nd December 1942 - posted as Commanding Officer 3 Initial Training School (Kingaroy)
  • 1 Oct 1940: Promoted Royal Australian Air Force, Squadron Leader
    1 Dec 1942: Promoted Royal Australian Air Force, Wing Commander
    3 Jul 1945: Discharged Royal Australian Air Force, Wing Commander, 250854, No. 3 Initial Training School Sandgate
    Date unknown: Enlisted Royal Australian Air Force, Wing Commander, 250854

    Geneology - John Rutherford GORDON, MC

    Son of Sir David John Gordon and Lady Anna Louisa (nee PEEL) GORDON of Victoria Avenue, Unley Park, Adelaide South Australia. Sir David John Gordon (4 May 1865 – 12 February 1946) was an Australian politician. He was a member of the Australian House of Representatives from 1911 to 1913 and a member of the South Australian Legislative Council from 1913 to 1944. He was briefly Minister of Education and Minister of Repatriation under Archibald Peake in 1917.

    Husband of Annie Marjorie GORDON.

    Father of

    Heather Rutherford GORDON (born 2nd October 1925)
    John Llewellyn GORDON (born 27th July 1927)
    Richard Martin Peel GORDON (born 12th April 1932)
    Bruce Rutherford GORDON (born 16th August 1935)

    Brother of

    845 Driver Douglas Peel GORDON - 4th Company Australan Army Service Corps, returned to Australia 25th November 1915 (born 1892)

    Ex - Wing Commander J.R. Gordon was presented with an Air Efficiency Award on 21st March 1968.

    The Air Efficiency Award, post-nominal letters AE for officers, was instituted in 1942. It could be awarded after ten years of meritorious service to part-time officers, airmen and airwomen in the Auxiliary and Volunteer Air Forces of the United Kingdom and the Territorial Air Forces and Air Force Reserves of the Dominions, the Indian Empire, Burma, the Colonies and Protectorates.

    The award of the decoration was discontinued in the United Kingdom on 1 April 1999, when it was superseded by the Volunteer Reserves Service Medal. The decoration is still being awarded in New Zealand, but between 1951 and 1975 it was superseded by local awards in other Dominions.

    In Canada, the Air Efficiency Award was superseded by the Canadian Forces Decoration in 1951.
    In South Africa, it was superseded by the John Chard Medal in 1952.
    In Australia, it was superseded by the National Medal in 1975.

    Daryl Jones


    Awarded the Military Cross

    For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty when, as observer on an offensive patrol, [on 26 March 1918] he shot down and destroyed three hostile machines. Previous to this
    he had shot down two enemy triplanes, one of which
    crashed to the ground in flames. He has also effectively and repeatedly scattered massed bodies of enemy troops by
    accurate shooting from a height of 100 feet. His skill and daring have been of the highest order.

    Showing 2 of 2 stories

    Biography contributed by Steve Larkins

    John Rutherford GORDON, MC

    John Gordon was born in Gilberton, South Australia, in 1895, the son of a politician, Hon David John Gordon, a Member of the SA Legislative Council .

    John Rutherford Gordon enlisted with the 10th  Battalion at Morphettville on 20 August 1914 and after basic training, embarked for Egypt on the HMAT Ascanius with his colleagues.  

    As a sergeant No 1 section, A Coy, 10 Battalion he took part in the ANZAC landings at Gallipoli, Turkey, 25 April 1915.  He was a Sergeant with the Battalion Scouts who were among the first ashore. They suffered heavy casualties. He received his commission while serving at Gallipoli. In August, he was invalided to Australia with enteric fever (typhoid) and spent a year recuperating and serving as a recruiting officer.

    He transferred to the Australian Flying Corps in May 1917.  After initial training at Point Cook for pilot training, which he did not complete due to a medical restriction, he travelled to the UK on the HMAT Suevic and joined the Royal Flying Corps. He then became an observer, and was posted to No 62 Squadron, RFC, in France in December 1917. His squadron flew the highly regarded two seat Bristol F.2b (Bristol Fighter), and Gordon teamed with Captain William (Bill) Staton, MC, DFC as pilot.  Staton was eventually credited with 26 victories, with several observers. The pair of Staton and Gordon went on to be credited with 15 victories with the aircraft’s single rear Lewis Gun. He was awarded the Military Cross for effective ground attack actions during the German March/April 1918 offensives.

    In mid 1918, he returned to England to finally complete his flying training and then served as a pilot on the SE5a fighter. Later, while undertaking a Sopwith Snipe conversion, the war ended and he returned to Australia.  He joined the RAAF for a time.  Later he took guided buffalo hunting parties to the Northern Territory and worked for a time for the Vacuum Oil Company.

    At the outbreak of the Second World War, he joined the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) as Recruiting Officer in Adelaide and subsequently took the first intake of the Empire Air Training Scheme to Canada. From 1942, he served as the Commanding Officer of the No 3 Initial Training School at Kingaroy, Queensland. He retired from the RAAF in 1945 with the rank of Wing Commander.

    John Gordon is immortalised as one of the "Flowers of the Forest" - the group of nine young men who formed 1 section A Company of the 10th Battalion, among the first ashore at ANZAC.  He was a very serious looking young man - among the youngest in the group yet holding the rank of Sergeant.  His nickname was "Jack o' Gibralta" - he was a big strapping young man.

    The Flowers of the Forest;

    Arthur BLACKBURN (/explore/people/930)

    Guy FISHER (/explore/people/373586)

    John GORDON (/explore/people/198723)

    Wilfid JOSE (/explore/people/173634)

    Eric MELDRUM (/explore/people/55797)

    Philip ROBIN (/explore/people/9135)

    Francis STOKES (/explore/people/60171)

    Malcolm TEASEDALE-SMITH (/explore/people/190689)

    Thomas WHYTE (/explore/people/170704)


    "In memory of my comrades of the 10th Battalion, 3rd Brigade, Signaller J. L. Lewis (cousin) Lance-Corporal P. de Q. Robin, Privates T. A. Whyte, F. H. Stokes, M. T. Smith, and G. V. S. Morphett, killed in action at Anzac, Gallipoli, on or about the 25th April, 1915.— J.R. Gordon, Lieutenant." - from the Adelaide Register 25 April 1916 (


    For more reading see links to left of this page


    Steve Larkins Nov 2014 



    Biography contributed

    Biography written by Lily Bright, Loxton High School, SA attached as a document. Winning entry for 2017 Premier's Anzac Spirit School Prize.