SSFR - Southend Great War Trail
Louis (Lewis) James Alexander
Service or Civilian:
North Staffordshire Regiment
Rank or Occupation:
2nd April 1889
Staffordshire, India and Southend
Oliver from WLJS
Grandfather of pupils at West Leigh Junior School
L.J. Alexander joined his father’s regiment, the North Staffordshire’s at the age of 13 years and 8 months. He travelled with the regiment to India as a boy. and became a bugler late in 1903.
After serving in with the North Staffordshire regiment, he joined the Machine Gun Core at the rank of Sergeant 83669.
He was awarded the Conspicuous Gallantry Medal, one down from DCM (because he rescued a wounded comrade lying wounded in No Man’s Land!) would have been DCM but he disobeyed orders!
He had shrapnel lodged in his head that was unable to be removed but he went back to serve in the rest of the war.
Louis was made an instructor after his recovery from battle wounds in 1917. The elders of Oliver’s family will recall competing on time in the stripping down and reassemble of a Vickers M/C Gun firing mechanism, as used by men under training.
On returning from war he had to inform his friend’s pregnant wife that her husband had died. Later they got married and went on to have 10 children together, including Oliver’s great grandmother (Gran’s mum).
Louis was registered at birth as Lewis James but all through his long life he thought it was spelt Louis James. He was entitled to identify his war bravery medal by adding DCM to his name. However, for this unassuming and modest man, he never once used it.
Louis lived until he was 87 years old and didn't die until 1976.