Sergeant 1514 Bartholomew Gordon

Bartholomew was born the son of Martin and Mary Gordon in 1848 at Cloowdawe just outside Inniskillen, Ireland.

When he left school he obtained work as a clerk and  on 18 July 1870 enlisted in the 56th West Essex Regiment.

He was a good soldier with regular awards of good conduct pay rises and was promotes to Corporal in 1873, Lance Sergeant in 1877 and full Sergeant in 1878.

He served with the 56th Regiment in India, Burma and Egypt and extended his service to stay with the Regiment when it became the 2nd Battalion of the Essex Regiment.

He had am imposing build with a superficial likeness to Lord Roberts and was a very popular man described as having a kindly nature and a keen native wit and humour.

In 1879 he married Mary Ann Crow from Shenfield at Brentwood Independent Chapel.

He suffered from various illnesses in his service especially Rheumatism  which left him partly paralyses and was sent home from Egypt to become the Caterer of the Officers Mess at Warley Barracks which he held until he retired on a medical pension on 3 March 1890.

One of stories told about Sgt Gordon took place when he was serving in India as a private and had become the favourite target of his Corporal. Gordon was placed on guard duty at the Carpenters shop by the Corporal who used this duty as a method of catching Gordon asleep or absent which was allow him to be placed on a charge. During the guard duty Gordon looked around the shop and in the rafters found an old coffin. Knowing that the Corporal would creep in to catch him out, Gordon placed the coffin next to the counter and kept watch. As the Corporal approached he got into the coffin and covered himself with a sheet. The Corporal entered and began to smile at finding Gordon absent but at the point the sheet in the coffin started to move and moans came from within. The Corporal left hurriedly to tell the Sergeant but by the time they returned Pte Gordon was smartly on sentry duty. When the Corporal told his story to the Sergeant, Pte Gordon denied any knowledge and by then there was no coffin to be seen at which point the Sergeant placed the Corporal on a charge of drunk on duty for which he was demoted and the 'alert' Pte Gordon promoted in his place.

His retirement coincided with the establishment of two Essex Regiment Memorial Homes for disabled Soldiers and by popular agreement he was the first soldier to be offered one of the homes.

On 2 October 1909 he died aged 61 years.

He was buried with full military honours on 7 October 1909 at Warley Cemetery with Father Toohy, the Roman Catholic Priest officiating.

Among the servicemen present were

Captain J Mead and Lt J Strickland,

Sgt Major Wilton, Colour Sgts - Richardson, Bennett and Taylor . Sgts - Day, North, Powell, Wooton, Saddler , Bowtle, Russell, Hicks, May, Hall (APC) and Wallis

Corporal Tyler and Lance Corporal Draper

Retired Sergeant Majors - G Willings, Blunden and Furgasson