The Men from Hyde – Arthur Evelyn Alexander

Arthur Evelyn Alexander was born in 1888 in Winchester, the youngest child of John and Harriet Alexander.  John and Harriet Mary Parker had married in Winchester in 1873.

In the 1881 census, Arthur’s father John (aged 27, a coachman from Wield, 5 miles north of Alresford) and Harriet (aged 35, born in Easton) are living at 10, King Alfred Place with their children John (6), Albert Edward (4), William Henry (2) and George Thomas (3 months).

In the 1891 census, the family is living at 2, Staple Garden[s]. John Snr is a groom, and Albert, 14, has also become a groom. John Jnr has left home. Since the last census there are 3 more children: Annie Olive (8), Frank Martyn (5), and Arthur Evelyn (3).  All children were born in Winchester.

In the 1901 census, John Snr (48) is a groom at a hotel and Harriet is 55.  Of their 7 children, only Annie (18, dressmaker), Frank (15, Solicitor’s clerk) and Arthur (13) are still at home. Albert was by now married and working as a caretaker at a Southampton auctioneer’s. George had become a police constable at Alton police station.

Arthur’s father John Alexander died in 1910 aged 57.

In the 1911 census, Arthur’s widowed mother Harriet is now 65 and still living at 2, Staple Gardens.  She states that she has been married for 37 years and had 7 children, all of whom are still alive.  Annie (28, dressmaker), Frank (25, Law clerk) and Arthur (23, grocer’s assistant) are living with her.

Arthur married Harriette Ada Waterman in 1914.  Harriette was born near Fordingbridge, and in the 1911 census, aged 29, had been working as a parlour maid for Miss Alice Bowker at St Waleric in Park Road, Winchester.

In May 1916, two years after his marriage, Arthur enlisted in the Royal Berkshire Regiment but was later moved to the 2nd Battalion Dorsetshire Regiment where he became a Lance Corporal. His regimental number was 26115.

Since 1914 the 2nd Battalion Dorsetshire Regiment had been stationed at Poona in India, moving to Mesopotamia (Iraq). On 29th April 1916, shortly before Arthur enlisted, the battalion (350 men) was captured at Kut-el-Amara. During the siege at Kut-el-Amara a new battalion, composed of returned wounded and others from the 2nd Dorsets and 2nd Norfolks, was formed (nicknamed the “Norsets”), under the command of the 21st Indian Brigade, 7th Indian Division.  This battalion was broken up in July 1916 and the 2nd Dorsets re-established.  It transferred to 9th Indian Brigade, 3rd Indian Division in January 1917 and moved to Egypt, landing at Suez in April 1918 with Arthur Alexander.

Arthur died in hospital in England on 5th July 1918, aged 31. His grave registration document states that he died of phythsis (tuberculosis) and it seems he was sent back to England to be nursed. It is not known which hospital he was in but it could have been Netley Military Hospital near Southampton where many soldiers were treated on arrival in Britain. Arthur is buried at Winchester (West Hill) Old Cemetery. The cemetery contains 114 First World War graves, scattered throughout the cemetery.

His widow Harriette was living at 44, Nuns Road at the time.  It seems Arthur and Harriette did not have children.

Arthur’s mother Harriet can be found in the 1939 Register living in Winchester with her son Frank Martyn Alexander and his wife Kate (nee Moreton) whom he had married in 1912.

Arthur’s widow Harriette died in Winchester in 1961 aged 81.

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