- Name: William James GORDON
- D.O.B: 19th May, 1864
- D.O.A: 13th Mar, 1892
- D.O.D: 15th Aug, 1922
- Award: Victoria Cross
- Occupation at time of action: No. 2829. Lance-Corporal, The West India Regiment
- Book: The Complete History - Volume 1
Toniataba, The Gambia, West Africa
13 March 1892
The Marabouts had long been a disruptive force in The Gambia. Since the 1850s one of the most troublesome Marabout chiefs had been Fodi Kabba, who ruled scattered territories south of the lower reaches of the River Gambia. The Colonial Office Annual Report for 1880 described him as living by ‘slave hunting and robbery’. In 1891 his followers obstructed surveyors of the Anglo-French Commission defining the international boundary and later in the year Fodi Kabba resumed his raids in the area. A punitive expedition was organised in December 1891 consisting of the 1st Battalion The West India Regiment, together with members of the Royal Navy and Gambia Police. On 13 March 1892 a force under Major G C Madden DSO attacked the stockaded town of Toniataba. Though Fodi Kabba was forced to take refuge in French territory he continued his raids until his death in 1901.
During the attack on the town of Toniataba, Major G. C. Madden, West India Regiment, who was in Command of the Troops, was superintending a party of twelve men who were endeavouring with a heavy beam to break down the South Gate of the town, when suddenly a number of musket muzzles were projected through a double row of loop-holes which had been masked. Some of these were within two or three yards of that Officer’s back, and before he realized what had happened Lance-Corporal Gordon threw himself between Major Madden and the muskets, pushing that Officer out of the way, and exclaiming “Look out, Sir!” At the same moment Lance- Corporal Gordon was shot through the lungs. By his bravery and self-devotion on this occasion Lance-Corporal Gordon probably saved the life of his Commanding Officer.