Information sought on Peterhead WW2 soldier

Can you help trace the relatives of this Peterhead soldier?
Can you help trace the relatives of this Peterhead soldier?

Relatives of a Peterhead soldier who died in France in June 1940, while serving with the 5th Battalion Gordon Highlanders, are being sought.

Next June is the 80th anniversary of the failed evacuations at St Valery-en-Caux, and the death of Blue Toon soldier William Gordon.

The fate of the 51st (Highland) Division in France in 1940 was considered the worst disaster to affect Scotland in the whole of WW2.

Some 10,000 men were captured, 2,000 of which were Gordon Highlanders and local to the north-east of Scotland.

William is one of only four Gordon Highlanders buried in Angiens Churchyard in Normandy having been killed in action on June 10, 2940, just two days before the 51st (Highland) Division surrendered.

Stewart Mitchell, author of the book ‘St. Valery and its Aftermath’, which tells the story of the Gordon Highlanders in France in 1940, was contacted by Herve Savary, who is a French Gendarmerie Major in Northern France, asking for assistance in contacting the families of the four Gordon Highlanders who are buried in Angiens.

Major Savary has organised many commemorative events in the past and grew up in the Somme area of France and has a life-long interest in the 51st (Highland) Division.

His family had a cafe which British soldiers would often frequent and who often left their cap badges or Glengarry bonnets as souvenirs.

He wants to arrange a special commemoration for William Gordon and his comrades in June next year and would like any members of William’s family to attend.

After some research, Mr Mitchell discovered that William enlisted into the Gordon Highlanders around April 1939, before the start of the war. He was just 26 years old when he died and was married, his wife’s name being Christina.

His parents were Alexander and Sena Gordon and all were reported to have lived in Peterhead.

Mr Mitchell said: “I hope that someone in the Peterhead area can remember the family and if any descendants of William Gordon are able to contact me via the paper I can put them in touch with Herve in France.”

If anyone can help, please contact us via email at news@buchanobserver.com and we will forward your information to Mr Mitchell in the first instance.