Lieutenant Alexander Dundee

 

Alexander Dundee (right) with his brothers Robert and Albert

 

Alexander Dundee was born in 1888 at Straidnahanna, Ballylinny, County Antrim, son of farmer James Dundee and his wife Ellen Jane (formerly Blair).

Part of a large family, Dundee's mother died in 1900 and his father eleven years later. In 1911 he was working as a chemist's assistant with his older brother James, a pharmaceutical chemist in Belfast.

Dundee enlisted in the North Irish Horse on 7 September 1914 (No.1137) with two of his brothers, Albert and Robert. Their younger brother, 16-year-old Charles, had overstated his age and enlisted in the Royal Irish Rifles. Another brother, William John, had served in the Boer War with the Imperial Yeomanry and saw action in East Africa in the Great War.

Alexander was promoted to lance corporal on 1 December, corporal on 27 March the following year, acting sergeant on 6 June and sergeant on 21 August 1915.

On 1 May 1915 he embarked for France as part of D Squadron of the North Irish Horse. His brothers Albert and Robert were also part of the squadron.

On 12 December 1916 Dundee was sent to No.2 Training Camp at Etaples, before being sent to GHQ Cadet School for officer training. On 21 February 1917 he was commissioned as a 2nd lieutenant and posted to the 13th Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles.

On 3 June 1917 Dundee took part on a trench raid near Kemmel Hill on the Ypres front. According to the battalion war diary:

At 3 pm on conjunction with a heavy bombardment and barrage this Bn carried out a successful raid under Major Workman R. & Lt Meagher L.J. Three officers and 70 OR went over taking sixteen prisoners and killing several more Germans.

The 13th Battalion's casualties were two killed, one died of wounds, and five wounded. Second Lieutenant Dundee and Lieutenant Meagher were awarded the Military Cross for the role they played in the raid. Dundee's citation reads as follows:

For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty during a raid on enemy trenches. He led the party which penetrated furthest into the enemy's lines, taking several prisoners.

On 16 August 1917 Dundee was severely wounded at the Battle of Langemarck. He sustained a fractured left elbow, gun shots wounds to his back, and shell splinters in his left leg. He was evacuated to England on 20 August and admitted to the 2nd Southern General Hospital at Bristol.

His promotion to lieutenant, an automatic step, came through on 21 August 1918.

Dundee recovered very slowly and he spent the remainder of the war on leave, and on light duties with the 3rd (Reserve) Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles at Larkhill.

He was demobilised on 12 July 1919 and relinquished his commission on 1 September 1921.

Alexander Dundee died at his home at Islandbawn, Carnmoney Road, Glengormley, County Antrim, on 21 November 1958.

 

Belfast Weekly Telegraph, 13 February 1915

A MILITARY FAMILY

Five sons of the late Mr. James Dundee, Beechfield, Ballynure, and brothers of Mr. James Dundee, chemist, University Road, Belfast. (1) Sergeant W. J. Dundee, of the Cape Dominion Defence Force. He served through the South African war, going out with the Yeomanry and returning threw in his lot with the Irish Horse, and again went to the front. On the cessation of hostilities he obtained a good position with the Commissioner of Police in Johannesburg. When the present war broke out he volunteered for service with General Botha's forces, and has since been engaged in the difficult task of rounding up rebels. He is at present in East Africa. Two brothers-in-law are serving in the (same?) Forces. (2) Troopers Robert and Albert and Corporal Alexander Dundee, of A Squadron North Irish Horse. All three joined together, and at present are training in England. (3) Private Charles Dundee, 14th Batt. (Y.C.V.) Royal Irish Rifles, is training at Randalstown.

 

 

Pictures 1 and 3 kindly provided by Mrs Dorothy Harcourt. Picture 2 provided by Nigel Henderson, Researcher at History Hub Ulster (www.greatwarbelfastclippings.com).