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Sir James Gordon
21 October 1772 – 4 January 1851
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch Flag of the British Army.svg British Army
Rank General
Awards Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath
Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Guelphic Order

General Sir James Willoughby Gordon, 1st Baronet, GCB, GCH, PC, FRS, FRGS (21 October 1772 – 4 January 1851) was a British Army officer.

Military career

Gordon was the son of Captain Francis Gordon, formerly Grant, who took the name of Gordon in 1768 (pursuant to the will of his maternal uncle, James Gordon, of Moor Place, Hertfordshire), and his wife, Mary, daughter of Sir Thomas Aston, and sister of Sir Willoughby Aston, Bt. On 17 October 1783, he was appointed an ensign in the 66th (Berkshire) Regiment of Foot, in which he became a lieutenant in 1789, captain in 1795, and major in 1797. He served with his regiment in Ireland, the West Indies, and at Gibraltar; was present as a volunteer on board Lord Hood's fleet at Toulon in 1793; and witnessed the surrender of the French in Bantry Bay in 1796. After this, he was with his regiment in San Domingo, in Jamaica, and North America.

Gordon was appointed a lieutenant-colonel in the 85th Regiment of Foot (Bucks Volunteers) on 21 May 1801 and commanded its 1st battalion regiment at the first British occupation of Madeira in that year. In 1802, he was appointed an assistant quartermaster general in the southern district, headquarters at Chatham. In 1804, he was brought into the 92nd (Highland) Regiment of Foot as a lieutenant colonel, and appointed Military Secretary, in which capacity he was an important witness before the parliamentary committee of inquiry into military expenditure, and in the Wardle inquiry. He retained the post until the resignation of the Duke of York. While so employed, he was appointed lieutenant-colonel commandant of the Royal African Corps in 1808, and became a colonel in 1810. He married, on 15 October 1805, Julia Lavinia, daughter of Richard Bennet, MP; they had a son and daughter.

In 1811, Gordon, who, as he stated before a parliamentary committee, had held every staff appointment it was possible for him to hold, was appointed quartermaster general of the army in the Peninsula, with which he served until he resigned the following year through ill health. On his return home, he was appointed Quartermaster-General to the Forces at Horse Guards,[1] a post which he retained until his death. Gordon became a major general in 1813, was transferred to the colonelcy of the 85th (King's Light Infantry) Regiment of Foot in 1816, and was created a baronet on 5 December 1818; he was transferred to the colonelcy of the 23rd Regiment of Foot (Royal Welsh Fusiliers) in 1823, made a lieutenant general and appointed a GCH in 1825, sworn of the Privy Council in 1830, appointed a GCB in September 1831 and a general in 1841. He was a Fellow of the Royal Society from 11 June 1801 and a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society from its formation in 1830. Gordon was author of Military Transactions of the British Empire, 1803–7 (1809), and a supplementary volume containing tables of the strength, distribution, and so on, of the army during that period.

Gordon died at his residence near the Royal Hospital Chelsea, London, on 4 January 1851. He was survived by Lady Gordon and succeeded by their son, Henry Percy Gordon (1806–1876), at whose death the baronetcy became extinct.


  1. ^ London Gazette: no. 16511, p. 1548, 6 August 1811. Retrieved on 2009-12-27.
Military offices
Preceded by
William Clinton
Military Secretary
Succeeded by
Sir Henry Torrens
Preceded by
Sir Robert Brownrigg
Quartermaster-General to the Forces
Succeeded by
Sir James Freeth
Preceded by
John Fraser
(Lieutenant Colonel Commandant)
Colonel of the Royal African Corps
(Lieutenant Colonel Commandant 1808–10)

Succeeded by
Sir Charles MacCarthy
Preceded by
Thomas Stanwix
Colonel of the 85th (King's Light Infantry) Regiment of Foot
Succeeded by
Sir Herbert Taylor
Preceded by
Richard Grenville
Colonel of the 23rd Regiment of Foot (Royal Welsh Fusiliers)
Succeeded by
Sir George D'Aguilar
Baronetage of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
New creation
(of Northcourt)
Succeeded by
Henry Gordon


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