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hajar | profile | all galleries >> Art of Jan and Cora Gordon >> Jan and Cora Gordon Books >> Jan and Cora Gordon in WW1 tree view | thumbnails | slideshow

Jan and Cora Gordon in WW1

In 1917 Ashley Smith wrote the following to his children and future grandchildren:
"The Gordons (Mr. Jan and Mrs. Jo Gordon) are very great and valued friends of ours. They are both artists and he has also written two books – one “The Balkan Freebooter” (an absolutely true yarn) all by himself and another called “The Luck of Thirteen” in conjunction with his wife. He also writes Art criticism in “The New Witness” under the name of “John Salis”."

"Jan was acting as engineer to Dr. Berry's Serbian Mission from the Royal Free Hospital:--Jan Gordon, and Jo is his wife, Cora Josephine Gordon, artist, and V.A.D." Expressing the need for a holiday, "Dr. Berry was quite agreeable, and gave us a commission to go to Salonika to start with and find a disinfector which had gone astray." See: http://janandcoragordonart.blogspot.com/2015/02/jan-gordon-on-father-berry-in-ww1-serbia.html .

Having returned to England in December 2015, Jan Gordon provided a sketch of the Serbian Retreat for the Illustrated London News and wrote short articles for "The New Witness." See: http://janandcoragordonart.blogspot.com/2016/01/the-return-of-gordons-100-years-ago.html ; http://janandcoragordonart.blogspot.com/2016/01/jan-and-cora-gordon-and-chestertons-100.html ; http://janandcoragordonart.blogspot.com/2016/01/jan-gordon-on-albania-in-new-witness.html

The story of how "The Luck of Thirteen" came to be published is told here: http://janandcoragordonart.blogspot.com/2014/05/jan-and-cora-gordon-getting-published.html and here: http://janandcoragordonart.blogspot.com/2014/06/jan-and-cora-gordon-wanderings-and.html

Reviews of the book were positive: http://janandcoragordonart.blogspot.com/2016/01/reviews-of-luck-of-thirteen-by-jan-and.html

"A Balkan Freebooter" (1916) was written by Jan Gordon as an account of "the true exploits of the Serbian outlaw and comitaj Petko Moritch", based on Nikola Pavlovitch of the "Luck of Thirteen" adventure. He is introduced in that book with "A very large Montenegrin in French fireman's uniform knocked at the door. He said his name was Nikola Pavlovitch." (pg 153). His story of captivity in a Turkish jail is mentioned (pg 156) in "The Luck of Thirteen", but given a whole chapter in "A Balkan Freebooter".
Frontispiece of The Luck of Thirteen A concealed gun emplacement on the Drina Published in 1916, a great story and my favourite of the Gordons' books. Retreating ammunition train
The Great Flight, Serbia 1915, from The Luck of Thirteen A Balkan Freebooter was published in 1916 and was the sequel to Luck of Thirteen. The frontispiece shows Petko Moritch in Comitaj costume. From a sketch from life. 1939 Penguin edition of Two Vagabonds in Serbia and Montenegro