Alexander was born in Berkhamsted, the son of James and Alice Rance. His father was a timber carter and his mother a laundress. He grew up at 8 Middle Road (1901) with four brothers and one sister. His father died when he was 10 years old, sometime after this the family moved to 27 Shrublands Avenue.
When he left school, he found a job as a butcher’s assistant. He didn’t immediately sign up on the outbreak of war and was deemed to have enlisted on 24 June 1916.
In the first few months of 1917 he married Annie Reeve in Hemel Hempstead and was then immediately called up for service for the duration of the war. He was 22 years and 9 months old. After initial training he left Dover on 5 June 1917. He was posted to 1st Bn East Surrey Regt, then transferred to the Manchester Regt and posted to the 2/10th Bn on 20 June 1917. We know that he received a gunshot wound to his left hand on October 1917 and returned to England 21 October 1917.
After a period of recovery, he was posted to the 3rd Bn Manchester regiment on 15 April 1918. The on 17 April 1918 he was transferred to South Lancashire Batt (Private 63795). He didn’t return to the front though. He was discharged having suffered impairment 27 August 1919.
It is likely that Alexander was asthmatic. He was deemed to have a pre-enlistment disability. His disability was recorded as less than 20%. He was described by the medical officer as “looking debilitated”. He was attending the Brompton hospital and complained of shortness of breath. It was concluded that his condition had been aggravated by his war service, particularly from a gas attack.
He had two children, Alexander (4 March 1919) and Blanche (27 April 1921). He died in 1928 aged 33. His obituary states that he was badly wounded and gassed which aggravated his bronchitis and pneumonia. He was described as a “man with a cheery word and a joke for all”.