Pilot Thomas Crouther Gordon

Biography of Pilot Thomas Crouther Gordon

Thomas Crouther Gordon was born on 15th February 1898, son of Mr and Mrs George Gordon. His father was a tailor's cutter. During the First World War, Tom served in the Royal Naval Air Force, a youthful pilot flying out of Orkney, on the alert for enemy submarines, in 'a flying bird-cage called a Maurice Farman biplane'. He did this with such courage and efficiency that he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. When the war was ending he flew the lead plane over Scapa Flow, shepherding the conquered German fleet to anchor. Many years later, in 1986, the BBC published his book, Early Flying in Orkney.

When the war was over, Tom returned to his studies for the ministry and earned the first of a string of degrees from the University when he graduated MA in 1922. To that he added a BD three years later, a PhD, and finally a DD in 1966. His undergraduate record was peppered with distinctions, a first place in elementary Arabic in 1921 that blossomed into a second place in Honours Arabic two years later, as well as distinctions in Honours Hebrew and Aramaic and Comparative Philology. It was the beginning of a lifetime of successful intellectual inquiry encompassing the Semitic languages, history, art and literature. His publications include a book on Robert Louis Stevenson, another on the Alloa artist David Allen and works on Alloa history. In his later years he edited and contributed to the Third Statistical Account of the County of Clackmannan. His deep interest in archaeology took him to excavations in Palestine in the twenties and to study at the British School of Archaeology. The fruits of his learning were shared with a wider audience in his book Digging in Galilee.

Tom Gordon did not live in an ivory tower. Far from it. As Minister of the Pitlochry United Free Church from 1926-1929, of Dalmuir Union Church from 1929-1933 and Clackmannan Parish Church 1933-1966 he took his pastoral work very seriously, and relished all the day-to-day demands of a busy parish. He still had energy left over to be on the Dollar Board of Governors and forty-one other committees and boards at some stage in his career. He was a talented preacher and teacher. Retiring in 1966 he was fortunate to enjoy twenty years of useful and happy retirement. A family man, he enjoyed the love and companionship of his wife Gwen, their children and grandchildren. He had a long, action-packed and reflective life. Thomas Crouther Gordon died on 23rd December 1986.

The Hunterian Museum holds a collection relating to Gordon including archaeological material he picked up while in the Near East during the War and his Pilot's Flying Log Book.


Pilot Thomas Crouther Gordon
Rank: Pilot
Regiment: Royal Naval Air Service
Degree: MA
Awards: Distinguished Flying Cross
Note/Press Clipping: N/A
Photo ID: N/A


Biography: Biographical information contributed by Dr Gordon's family

University of Glasgow Archives, Faculty and Registry Records

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