Gordon, Commander George Thomas
George Thomas Gordon held command of the HMS Cormorant during its commission from 1843 until 1848, when he was promoted to captain and assumed command of HMS Ganges.1 The Royal Navy dispatched Gordon from the Pacific Station (Valparaiso, Chile) to Vancouver Island, during the Oregon border dispute with the United States. The Cormorant arrived at Fort Victoria with HMS Herald and HMS Pandora, a pair of survey ships, on 27 June 1846.2 Gordon anchored at Nisqually before receiving directions from Captain Duntze to assess coal deposits in the northern part of Vancouver Island, near Port McNeill, then known as McNeil's Harbour. Both Cormorant Rock and Cormorant Island (now the location of the town Alert Bay) are named after HMS Cormorant.3
James Fitzgerald later included a copy of Gordon's report to Duntze on the subject of coal in a letter to Herman Merivale, as evidence for the need of a company to mine the deposits on Vancouver Island.4 Other copies of the report passed through the House of Commons, were presented to Her Majesty for directions, and viewed by part-time historian Robert Martin for his Report on Vancouvers Island and Hudson Bay Territories.5
Gordon married Julia of Cavendish Square on 10 January 1848. In 1854, he served as captain on HMS Duke of Wellington, deployed to the Baltic during the Crimean War. From 1855 onward, he served on various ships based out of Portsmouth, until his retirement in 1870 at the rank of rear-admiral.6
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