Poppy In memoriam Poppy

Lance Corporal Alexander Parker Erskine




Alexander Parker Erskine was born on 10 February 1896 at Culmore, Glenburn Park, Belfast, the second of two children of shop assistant Alexander Erskine and his wife Eliza Jane (nee Nixon). His father died when Alexander was just four years old. By 1911 he was living with his mother and sister at Cavehill Road, Belfast, and working as a draper's apprentice.

Erskine enlisted in the North Irish Horse at Belfast on 7 October 1914 (No.1284). (Some records give his enlistment date as 5 October.) He embarked for France with F Squadron on 17 November 1915.

In June 1916 F Squadron came together with C Squadron and the 6th (Inniskilling) Dragoons Service Squadron to form the 2nd North Irish Horse Regiment, serving as corps cavalry to X Corps until September 1917, when the regiment was dismounted and most of its men were transferred to the 9th (Service) Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers – renamed the 9th (North Irish Horse) Battalion. Like most of the men, Erskine was transferred to the battalion on 20 September. He was issued a new regimental number – 41235. He probably saw action with the battalion at the Battle of Cambrai in November and December 1917, and possibly also during the German offensives in March and April 1918.

From 30 September to 11 October 1918 the 9th Battalion saw action near the Belgian village of Vijfwegen. The fighting centred on a small rise, Hill 41, which had been well fortified by the Germans and afforded a wide field of fire on troops attempting to move past it. The 9th Battalion sustained many casualties during this time. One of these was Erskine, who was wounded on or before 9 October. He was evacuated to No.2 Canadian Casualty Clearing Station at Remy Siding, but died there on 10 October.

Lance Corporal Erskine was buried at Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery, grave XXX.B.10. His gravestone inscription reads:

41235 L. CPL
10TH OCTOBER 1918 AGE 22


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