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  • Christina Drummond

Lieutenant-Colonel Reginald Alexander, 3rd Battalion, the Rifle Brigade

Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 1914, Lieutenant-Colonel Reginald Alexander, 3rd Battalion, the Rifle Brigade, died from wounds received five weeks earlier on the Western Front.

One of twelve children of Caledon Dupre Alexander (formerly of the Life Guards), he was also the grandson of Josias Dupre Alexander, an M.P. for Old Sarum who acquired a fortune in India after his directorship with the East India Company. Lieutenant-Colonel Alexander was educated at Eton College, served with the Militia, and joined the Royal West Kent Regiment in 1889. Two years later he transferred to the Rifle Brigade, and from 1894 to 1898 was Adjutant of his battalion. It was noted that he was “of a most cheery disposition”, particularly fond of horse racing, and not a bad cricketer.

He served in the South African War, saw action at Laing’s Nek, and during the fighting in the Transvaal east of Pretoria was severely wounded. He was Commandant at Uitkyk and Olifant’s River, being Mentioned in Despatches twice and awarded the Queen’s and King’s medals, each with two clasps. In October of 1913 he succeeded to the command of his battalion, which was stationed at Cork at the outbreak of the Great War. In September of 1914 they mobilised for war and landed at St. Nazaire. They engaged in various actions on the Western Front, including those on the Aisne heights and during the Attack on Perenchies in the.Battle of Armentières. They also took part in the Christmas Truce of 1914. Lieutenant-Colonel Alexander was wounded on the first day of the Battle of Armentieres, the 13th of October. He returned to the fighting in early November, but on the 22nd was wounded yet again – his injuries were so severe this time that he was not able to recover, and died four days after Christmas. He is buried in the Bailleul Communal Cemetery in France.

Reginald, from Guildford in Surrey, was 47 years old.

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