26th January 1885:Chinese Gordon died.
Major General Charles George Gordon, or Chinese Gordon as he was known, died in Khartoum today in 1885. He made his reputation 20 years before in the Taiping Rebellion. He was sent to the Sudan to safeguard the country and Egypt from the Mahdi, a Muslim fanatic with an enormous following. The Prime Minister, Gladstone, was in the process of arranging a relief force and Gordon was told he could leave the city. He refused.
What happened next is etched on my memory(and perhaps other schoolboys’ minds) as the garrison fell and Gordon, unarmed, was struck down by countless spears.
The relief force arrived on the 28th, Gordon’s 52nd birthday.
Gordon was born in London in 1833, the son of a Major General and was commissioned a Lieutenant in 1852. He saw service in the Crimea as well as in China. He never married and was a Christian Evangelist, who spend much time helping orphans. He welcomed death.
His effigy can be found in St Paul’s Cathedral, London; his body was never found.