Gordon, John Rutherford, MC (Wing Commander; b.1895 - d.1978)

Place Europe: United Kingdom
Accession Number PR82/067
Collection type Private Record
Record type Collection
Measurement 3 wallets: 5cm; 1 custom made box; 1 oversize wallet
Object type Document
Maker Gordon, John Rutherford
Place made Australia, Canada, Egypt
Date made 1914-1975
Access Open
Related File This file can be copied or viewed via the Memorial’s Reading Room. AWM315 328/005/143 02
Conflict Period 1930-1939
Second World War, 1939-1945
First World War, 1914-1918
Copying Provisions Copying is permitted for the purposes of research and study, subject to physical condition
Source credit to This item has been digitised with funding provided by Commonwealth Government.

Collection relating to the First World War, Interwar and Second World War service and post-war life of 250854 Wing Commander John Rutherford Gordon MC, No. 3 Initial Training School, Royal Australian Air Force, (formerly Second Lieutenant, Australian Flying Corps), 1914-1975.

Wallet 1 of 5 - Contains material from the First World War and Second World War service of John Rutherford Gordon in addition to letters and papers from the post-war period. Items from the First World War include a Royal Air Force transfer card that records training undertaken by Gordon, and a notebook of lecture notes and diagrams relating to his training with the Australian Flying Corps. The latter references subjects ranging from flight instruments and various components of aeroplanes including Le Rhône and Beardmore engines to fundamental flight training subjects such as navigation and meteorology.

Material from the Second World War includes an invitation for Gordon to attend dinner at the Château Laurier Hotel in Ottawa on 15 September 1941 arranged by the Air Council of Canada in honour of Air Marshal A.G.R. [Alfred Guy Roland] Garrod, a permit to land on Pitcairn Island issued to Gordon on 28 March 1942, and correspondence between Gordon and the Governor of Queensland, Sir Leslie Orme Wilson, relating to the latter's official visit to No. 3 Initial Training School at Kingaroy on 3 May 1943.

Material from the post-war period includes a letter from Commander John Lancaster to Gordon dated 24 April 1968, enclosed with a typescript of an Anzac address given by Lancaster at Victor Harbour on 21 April 1968 and a flyer featuring the Sidney Nolan painting "Soldier" used to promote a film produced by Qantas titled "Toehold In History". Other items from this period comprise correspondence between Gordon and John Albert Salcumbe from April 1970 concerning a newspaper article by Kenneth Joachim titled "The Corner That Is Anzac" published by "The Advocate" on 23 April 1969. The article explores the origins of Anzac Day services held at Leighterton since 1934 in honour of 24 members of the Australian Flying Corps who lived and trained at Leighterton Airfield and were buried at the local cemetery after dying in air crashes nearby, and the role of Salcumbe in the continued remembrance of these Australians. A newspaper clipping of the article is enclosed with the correspondence and has been reproduced with the permission of News Corp Australia.

The Qantas flyer titled "Toehold In History" featuring the Sidney Nolan painting "Soldier" has been reproduced with the permission of Qantas and the Art Gallery of South Australia - Sidney Nolan, Australia, 1917 - 1992, Soldier, 1964, London, oil on board, 122.0 x 122.0 cm; Gift of Sidney and Cynthia Nolan 1974, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide, © Art Gallery of South Australia.

Wallet 2 of 5 - Contains a copy of the Commonwealth of Australia Gazette No. 185 published on 27 November 1918 in which John Rutherford Gordon's award for the Military Cross is recorded on page 2260, and three folders of papers written and compiled by Gordon in his role as Commanding Officer of No. 3 Initial Training School at Kingaroy in Queensland during the Second World War, as described below.

Folder 1 of 3 - Contains an assortment of papers pertaining to lectures and the instruction of trainees attached to No. 3 Initial Training School at Kingaroy Aerodrome. The papers cover subjects ranging from the Empire Air Training Scheme and Initial Air Training Schools to defences schemes and security at Kingaroy Aerodrome, administration, discipline, leave and wills.

Folder 2 of 3 - Comprises File 907/3/P1 containing correspondence and papers relating to a car accident at Kingaroy on 21 January 1943 involving five members of the Royal Australian Air Force and two members from the Australian Army that resulted in three fatalities; 94232 Aircraftwoman Dorothy May Ward, 425961 Aircraftman 2 James Hope Paynter and NX36129 Driver Leslie Thomas Stout. The file includes telegrams to the families of those involved in the accident and letters of condolence to the families of the deceased as well as letters from the parents of two of the deceased, S.G.G. Ward and Hope C. Paynter, in addition to a letter from Winifred Meadham, the sister of casualty Vincent Thomas Fay. The file also includes reports and a variety of other papers relating to the accident, and three duplicate newspaper clippings of an article titled "3 Dead, 5 Hurt; Kingaroy Smash" published by "The Courier Mail" on 23 January 1943.

Folder 3 of 3 - Contains papers largely pertaining to the Department of Air and No. 3 Initial Training School during 1942 and 1943. Items include a transcript of a broadcast by the Minister for Air Arthur Drakeford in March 1943, a press release relating to a Distinguished Flying Medal awarded to 400019 Sergeant Reginald Daly Mohr, a transcript of a lecture on physical fitness in the Women's Auxiliary Australian Air Force, and a foreign airport description of Kingaroy Aerodrome sent to US Forces. Papers pertaining to No. 3 Initial Training School include a report on activities at Kingaroy Aerodrome during Christmas and New Year 1942/43, a weekly ration statement for Kingaroy Aerodrome during this period, and several balance sheets for the Sergeant's Mess at the aerodrome. The folder also includes an application for discharge of 434088 Leading Aircraftman Robert John Johnston, and papers concerning the district court martial of 68760 Aircraftman 1 Alfred John Hockday.

Wallet 3 of 5 - The earliest dated item in the wallet comprises a "Battle of Britain Souvenir Book 1964" published by the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund. The book includes a 7-page article by Group Captain Henry Ross Rayner titled "Royal Australian Air Force - An Outline History", an article written to mark the fiftieth anniversary of military flight in Australia. The wallet also includes a family history booklet titled "Two Brothers" broadly relating to the Bridgland family in South Australia but in large part devoted to brothers 407405 Pilot Officer Maurice Everest Bridgland and 439425 Flying Officer Geoffrey Stokes Bridgland. Though unattributed and undated, Bridgland family members indicate the booklet was written and self-published by the older brother of the aforementioned pair, SX9824 Major Reginald James Bridgland during the mid-to-late 1960s.

The remaining items in this wallet relate to a 1975 Gallipoli tour that John Rutherford Gordon took part in. These items include a magazine titled "This Week in Turkey" No. 24 published by the Pan News Agency in Ankara on 23-30 April 1975. The magazine features coverage of activities marking the sixtieth anniversary of the landing at Anzac Cove and the Gallipoli Campaign. The final items comprise a report on a 1975 tour to Gallipoli organised by the Returned Services League of Australia and several related loose-leaf pages. Written by Tour Leader J.T.D Stewart and Deputy Tour Leader H.C. Newman, the report offers some background information on the tour to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee of the landing at Anzac Cove, and includes a summarised itinerary of significant aspects of the tour and a nominal roll of those that took part.

Wallet 4 of 5 - Comprises an oversized wallet housing two commissioning certificates issued to John Rutherford Gordon during his Interwar and Second World War service. The first certificate issued on 27 August 1937 confirmed his commission to the rank of Lieutenant whilst attached to the 10th Infantry Battalion [as published in the Commonwealth of Australia Gazette on 6 March 1937], and the second certificate issued on 19 October 1940 confirmed Gordon's commission to the rank of Flight Lieutenant whilst serving with the Citizen Air Force/Royal Australian Air Force [as published in the Commonwealth of Australia Gazette on 29 February 1940].

Wallet 5 of 5 - Comprises a custom box housing an album of photographs and postcards relating to the First World War service of John Rutherford Gordon. Much of the material dates from 1914-15, and includes photographs of Gordon and his brother 845 Driver Douglas Peel Gordon in uniform at home in Adelaide prior to their embarkation, and a wide variety of photographs and postcards relating to Gordon's embarkation from Adelaide in October 1914, training in Egypt, service at Gallipoli and return to Australia in September 1915. The material from Egypt includes photographs of Gordon and soldiers in camp, training and sightseeing as well as postcards of the Palace Hotel in Heliopolis. The material from Gallipoli includes souvenir photographs of Anzac Cove the day after landing and Australian Headquarters, in addition to images of transport ships, soldiers relaxing in camp and manning trenches, artillery positions and panoramas of the Gallipoli Peninsula. The last item in the album features a photograph of Gordon's family home in Adelaide signed and annotated with short messages by members of his family, dated 21 August 1917.

The album also includes the identification disc issued to Gordon whilst attached to the 10th Infantry Battalion, and the ribbon bar from the 1914-15 Star awarded to Gordon.