John Vivian GORDON


GORDON, John Vivian

Service Number: 1039
Enlisted: 1 March 1916
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 43rd Infantry Battalion
Born: Riverton, South Australia, Australia, 10 June 1893
Home Town: Kilkenny, Charles Sturt, South Australia
Schooling: East Adelaide Public School and Muirden College, Adelaide, South Australia
Occupation: Clerk
Died: Killed In Action, Belgium, 24 June 1917, aged 24 years
Cemetery: Messines Ridge British Cemetery
Messines Ridge British Cemetery, Messines, Flanders, Belgium
Memorials: Adelaide Elder Smith & Co Limited WW1 Honour Board, Adelaide National War Memorial, Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Riverton & District War Memorial Pool Memorial and Flagpole, Riverton Holy Trinity Anglican Church Honour Roll WW1, Riverton Pictorial Honour Board, Riverton RSL Hall Honour Roll, St Peters All Souls Anglican Church Honour Board WW1, St Peters All Souls Anglican Church Stained Glass Window 'St. Michael'
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World War 1 Service

1 Mar 1916: Enlisted
9 Jun 1916: Involvement Private, SN 1039, 43rd Infantry Battalion
9 Jun 1916: Embarked Private, SN 1039, 43rd Infantry Battalion, HMAT Afric, Adelaide
24 Jun 1917: Involvement Private, SN 1039

Help us honour John Vivian Gordon's service by contributing information, stories, and images so that they can be preserved for future generations.

Biography contributed by Saint Ignatius' College

John Vivian Gordan was born in South Australia. His family consisted of his mother Francis Mary Gordan, his father James Gordan and his brother, Kenneth Stanley Gordan, who also served in the Australian army (returned to Australia, 22 July 1917). They lived in 5 Cleland Avenue, Dulwich, Adelaide, South Australia. John attended primary school at East Adelaide Public School (57/59 Second Ave, St Peters SA 5069). He went to high school at Muirden College, Adelaide, South Australia (368 King William St, Adelaide SA 5000), which he graduated from and went on to be a Clerk. John Gordan had a military background, having spent 1 year in the Elder South Rifle club which would have helped John prepare for war.

John was 5 foot and 9 inches (taller than the average height at that time), with a dark complexion and brown eyes. John only weighed 129lbs (58.5 kg). John’s religion was the Church of England. He was not married and did not have any children. John enlisted in the military on the 1st of March 1916 in Adelaide, South Australia, when he was 22 years old and 9 months.

He embarked to England from Port Adelaide on the 9th of June 1916 to complete his training and disembarked in Plymouth on the 24th of July 1916. John’s service number was 1039. John was in the 43rd Battalion in the 2nd AIF. On the 5th of October 1916, he transferred from the 43rd battalion to the 11th Light Trench Mortar Battery in the Western front, 11th Infantry Brigade.

According to the service records, John did not have any casualty or illnesses recorded. On the 8th of February 1917, he was imprisoned for 7 days for being out of his billet (temporary housing) while on active duty which is a Field Punishment No 2.

John enlisted at an Anti-Gas school on the 16th of April 1917. He then rejoined his unit on the 23rd of April 1917.

He was a Private in the 11th Light Trench Mortar in the squadron troop in the Messines Battle, which was in Messines Ridge, Ypres, Belgium.

After 1 year and 3 months of active duty in the trench, on the 24th of June 1917, Flanders, Belgium he was killed by a bursting shell and went missing. Tragically, his body was never recovered. John Vivian Gordan was 24 when he was killed.

Today, John Vivian Gordan has been memorialised in Messines Ridge British Cemetery, Belgium, Plot V, Row C, Grave number 43. The headstone is a commemoration of Gordan’s service in the war. This cemetery shows a small amount of the soldiers that gave their lives while fighting in the war. His mother, Francis Mary Gordan stated “He bore an unblemished character and was deeply mourned.”

In his will, his belongings went to the next of kin, in this case, his mother. She was bequeathed one candlestick, 3 devotional books, a Card case, two spoons, one fly net, two pads, one Tusssore shirt, one handkerchief and a tape measure.

John Vivian Gordan was a brave and honourable hero. As a reward for his bravery and ANZAC spirit, while fighting in World War One, he was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. His panel number is number 20 in the Roll of Honour in the Australian War Memorial.