Gordon, Charles George

BORN 28 Jan 1833, London: Woolwich - DIED 26 Jan 1885, Khartoum
GRAVE LOCATION London: St. Paul's Cathedral (cenotaph)

Charles George Gordon, later known as Chinese Gordon, Gordon Pasha and Gordon of Khartoum, was educated at the Royal Military Academy in Woolwich. In 1854 he was sent to the Krim, where he saw action during the siege of Sebastopol. In 1860 he went to China, where England was fighting the Second Opium War. When peace was restored he became the commander of the troops in Songjiang that were known as the 'Ever Victorious Army' (EVA). The EVA was instrumental in suppressing the Taiping rebellion. He had offered the Wangs, the leaders of the Taiping, safe conduct, but they were executed when he was away. He resigned immediately, but returned as a Mandarin in the Chinese Army.

In 18965 he returned to England and in 1871 he became a colonel. In 1874 he became Governor of the Sudan. Because he was in favour of native rule he was replaced in 1879 and in 1880 he was appointed Secretary to the Viceroy of India. When the Mahdi started a revolt in 1884 he was sent to Khartoum to evacuate the British and Egyptian troops. Gordon disobeyed his orders because he thought a safe evacuation was not possible at the time. Consequently Khartoum was besieged by the Mahdi and the although the people as well as the queen asked for it, the British Government under Gladstone refused to send fresh troops until October, 1884. When the relief troops finally reached Khartoum it had fallen two days before and Gordon had been murdered at an unknown point in time. George William Joy's painting "General Gordon's Last Stand" (1885, Leeds City Art Gallery) is about his death.

His body was never recovered, but at St. Paul's Cathedral in London a cenotaph was erected for him. A statue of Gordon by Hamo Thornycroft was placed at Trafalgar Square in 1888. It was removed in 1943 and placed at the Victoria Embankment in 1953. Many schools and parks were named after him.


The cenotaph for General Gordon at St. Paul's Cathedral, London.
Picture by Androom (26 Mar 1996)


Charles George Gordon - Wikipedia

Gore, Catherine

Published: 18 Oct 2008
Last update: 25 Apr 2022