Charles George Gordon

Major General Charles George Gordon (known as Gordon of Khartoum) has a memorial in the north west tower chapel near the west entrance to Westminster Abbey. The mural monument of bronze is by Edward Onslow Ford and shows a bust of the General and inscribed ribbons below. The inscription reads:

In memory of Charles-George Gordon. Born 1833. Killed at Khartoum 1885. Erected by the Corps of Royal Engineers

And on the ribbons:

Mandarin of China, Major General of the British Army, Pasha of Egypt

The monument was erected in 1892. There is another memorial to him in St Paul's Cathedral in London.

He was born on 28th January 1833 at Woolwich in south east London, a son of Lt. General Henry William Gordon and his wife Elizabeth (Enderby). The family followed their father on his various postings and the children were educated privately. In 1840 Charles entered the Royal Military Academy in his home town and later joined the Royal Engineers. He landed at Balaklava in 1855 and fought in the Crimean War. As a Captain he went to China to help in protecting it from insurgents and he crushed the Taiping rebellion. He received the Yellow Jacket and Peacock Feather denoting a Mandarin of the first rank. In Britain he became known as Chinese Gordon. After various postings he served under the khedive of Egypt as governor of a province in the Sudan. He mapped the area and set up various stations and suppressed slave trading. Later he returned to England, was made a Major General and served in South Africa. Due to the uprising in the Sudan led by the Mahdi British troops were sent to support the Egyptian army and Gordon was sent to Khartoum. After a long siege he was finally killed in the governor's palace and his body was never found.

Further reading

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography 2004


28th January 1833





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Charles George Gordon
Charles George Gordon

[Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Charles George Gordon
Charles George Gordon bust

This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library

Image © 2023 Dean and Chapter of Westminster