b. ? Mullingar, Ireland. d. 24/09/1857 Lucknow, India.
John Alexander (date unknown – 1857) was born in Mullingar, County Westmeath, Ireland, but the date of birth is not known. There is also no known photograph of him. He soon enlisted with the 90th Regiment of Foot (later Cameronians (Scottish Rifles)) and was posted to the Crimea in 1854 on the outbreak of hostilities there.
He spent most of his time in the trenches at Sebastopol, and on 18th June 1855, after the attack on the Redan, Private Alexander jumped out of his trenches and under very heavy fire, rescued several wounded men and brought them back. Later, on the 6th September 1855, he was with a working party in the most advanced trench when he went out under heavy fire and helped rescue Captain Buckley of the Scots Fusilier Guards who was severely wounded.
On 24th February 1857, Alexander was one of the first men to be gazetted for the new Victoria Cross. On the date of the first investiture of the medal, 26th June 1857, at Hyde Park, London, Private Alexander was unable to attend as he was on route with the 90th Regiment of Foot to China. His medal was posted ahead to Hong Kong to be presented to him on his arrival. Alexander never received the medal, as whilst on route to China, the Regiment were re-routed to India following the outbreak of the Mutiny.
John Alexander was killed in action on 24th September 1857 during the relief of Lucknow. He is believed to have been buried where he fell in action. His Victoria Cross which had been sent to Hong Kong, was then posted to his widow, and it was received on 16th August 1858. Alexander’s medals are now held by the National War Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh Castle.
LOCATION OF MEDAL:NATIONAL WAR MUSEUM OF SCOTLAND, EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND.
BURIAL PLACE: BELIEVED TO BE WHERE HE FELL IN LUCKNOW, INDIA.
Alexander's medals in Edinburgh Castle (Picture - Andy Wright).