Tag Archives: Highgate Cemetery

Alexander John Maxwell Gordon

Alexander Gordon joined Westminster in 1907 and boarded in Rigaud’s House.  We do not know much about his first few years at the school.  In 1912 he took part in his houses’ Tug of War Team, weighing in at 11st, by the following year’s match, he had gained 10lb.  He was also part of the Officer Training Corps, obtaining the rank of Lance-Corporal whilst at the school and performing well at shooting matches.

When Gordon left the school in July 1913 and took up a place at Pembroke College, Cambridge.  However, shortly after the outbreak of war, he joined the Queen’s Westminster Rifles, a natural choice given the rifle practice he had had at school.  He took a commission at a 2nd Lieutenant in November and was promoted through the ranks, becoming a Captain in November 1916.  He went out to the western front in September 1917 and was killed in action at Moeuvres in November as part of the capture of Bourlon Wood.

Gordon was buried in Hermies Hill British Cemetery in France.  His death is recorded on a family memorial in Highgate Cemetery.

British infantry, having moved up into captured German trenches at Havrincourt, just south of Moeuvres and Bourlon, on 20th November 1917.
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Leon de Barr Kelsey

Leon de Barr Kelsey was the only son of Richard and Annie Kelsey, of South Kensington. He attended Homeboarders’ House from April 1898 until July 1901.

Leon was knocked out in the first round of the 300 yards race at the Athletic Sports Competition in 1900. However, he did make it into the Cricket 3rd XI, scoring 49 runs in one match.

After leaving the school Leon embarked on a career as an architect, studying for six more years before entering his father’s business as a bootmaker. Leon’s father died in 1911, aged only 54, and it must have been Leon’s responsibility to support his widowed mother and younger sister.

In April 1915 Leon entered the Inns of Court Officer Training Corps. He took a commission as 2nd Lieutenant in the 23rd Battalion of the London Regiment. He went out to the western front on 24th September 1915.

He left all his money and belongings to his younger sister Lilian, who was not yet 30. Unusually, his body was brought back to England and he is buried in Highgate Cemetery, directly behind Karl Marx.

Troops from the London Regiment at the Somme, 6th September 1916
Troops from the London Regiment at the Somme, 6th September 1916
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