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Biography of Charles George Gordon

Portrait of Charles George Gordon

General Charles George Gordon was a nineteenth century military commander famous for dying at Khartoum in the Sudan during a siege.

When and Where was he Born?

28th January 1833, Woolwich, London, England.

Family Background:

Charles George Gordon was the son of an Artillery Officer.


Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst.

Timeline of Charles George Gordon:

1848: Gordon enters the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst as a Gentleman Cadet.

1852: He is commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Royal Engineers and posted to Chatham, Kent.

1853: Gordon posted by Army to Pembroke Dock in South Wales.

1854: He is is posted by the Army to the Crimea where he was decorated by the French for bravery.

1856: He is appointed a member of the Boundary Commission in order to settle the disputed border between Russia and Turkey.

1860: Charles Gordon is posted by the Army to China. He is promoted to Major and goes on to command the “Ever Victorious” Army helping to quell the Taiping Rebellion.

1865: He is promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and is posted to Gravesend as Commandant of the Royal Engineers. He helps with the upgrading of the Lower Thames Forts.

1871: He is promoted to full Colonel and is appointed as British Commissioner on the Danube Commission.

1874: He is put in command of troops in the Sudan in Africa.

1877: General Charles Gordon is appointed as Governor of the Sudan.

1880: He resigns as Governor of the Sudan due to Poor Health and is appointed Private Secretary to the Viceroy of India.

1882: He is appointed Commandant of forces in the Mauritius Islands.

1884: He is appointed Governor General of the Sudan for the second time and is given Government orders to evacuate the Country.

1885: General Charles Gordon’s force is besieged in Khartoum by the “Mad” Mahdi for ten months and eventually he is killed two days before the relief force arrives. Once news reaches Britain he becomes a national hero for his ill-fated defence against overwhelming odds.

When and Where did he Die?

26th January 1885, killed at Khartoum, Sudan, Africa when Mahdists broke into the city and killed him and other defenders. 

Age at Death:



Never married.

Site of Grave:

Body not recovered from Khartoum. Effigy in St. Paul’s Cathedral, London, England.

St Paul's Cathedral
St Paul’s Cathedral, London (copyright Anthony Blagg)

Places of Interest:


Imperial War Museum.


Royal Engineer’s Museum, Gillingham.