‘Persian Gulf Tragedy’: the Death and Legacy of John Gordon Lorimer
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The untimely death of John Gordon Lorimer, acting Resident in the Persian Gulf 1913–14, was seen as a tragedy. Yet, his legacy – in the form of his Gazetteer of the Persian Gulf, Oman and Central Arabia – emerged forty years later and has remained central to the study of the Gulf ever since. On the morning of Sunday 8 February 1914, John Gordon Lorimer, the officiating British Resident in the Persian Gulf at Bushire, retired to his dressing room to ascertain the exact calibre of his automatic pistol as he wished to order cartridges from Bombay. He was later found lying on the floor, dead, at the age of forty-three, from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. According to a press communiqué reported in the Times of India newspaper, Lorimer, in examining his pistol, ‘had pulled the trigger and discharged a last cartridge which had been overlooked in the magazine’. The bullet entered his stomach, passing through the body, rupturing major blood vessels. Shock, in the opinion of the Residency Surgeon, ‘must have caused immediate loss of consciousness […] and death speedily followed’.