Lieutenant Alexander Frederick Traill, MC


Alexander Frederick Traill was born on 2 May 1891 at Ballylough House, Bushmills, County Antrim, the ninth child of Trinity College Fellow and landowner Anthony Traill and his wife Catherine Elizabeth (nee Stewart-Moore). He was grandson of Captain James Stewart Moore DL, of Ballydivity, Ballymoney, who served with the 11th Hussars in the Peninsular War, at Waterloo and in India.

He was educated at the Coleraine Academic Institute and Trinity College, Dublin. By 1911 he was living in Aylsham, Norfolk while studying as a land agency student. In 1914 Traill was back in Ireland, working as a horse dealer.

He enlisted in the North Irish Horse at Antrim on 26 October 1914 (No.1338). On 9 February 1915 he was promoted to lance corporal.

On 1 May 1915 he embarked for France with D Squadron. Two months later, on 7 July, he was commissioned in the field and posted to the 15th Brigade Ammunition Column of the Royal Field Artillery (which became No.1 Section, 5th Divisional Ammunition Column, on 22 May 1916). He was promoted to lieutenant on 15 March 1916.

In July 1916 Traill was wounded in action, later being awarded a Military Cross. This occurred either on 25 July, when the 5th Divisional Artillery Column's diary recorded "At 3.35 a.m. dump was struck by shell-fire, and was blown up", or four days later, when according to the 15th RFA Brigade's diary "Intense enemy shelling in the valley behind the guns & two ammunition pits were exploded." His citation reads:

For conspicuous gallantry. When in charge of an ammunition dump, which was ignited by shell fire, he organised a party to extinguish the fire, and was carrying away a box of shells when an explosion knocked him down. On regaining consciousness he at once returned to the dump, and helped to carry away an officer and a N.C.O. who had been wounded.

In February 1917 Traill was attached to A Battery of the 15th Brigade, 5th Division.

In the Artillery Divisional Horse Show on 8 June he won the first three places in the officers' jumping and first place in the officers' chargers' class, and ten days later at the Divisional Horse Show he won a first in the officers' jump and a second in the officers' chargers' class.

On 29 July 1917 he was posted to the 15th Brigade's 80th Battery, and six weeks later was posted back to the 5th Division's Ammunition Column.

Traill relinquished his commission on completion of his service on 14 February 1919.

He died on 14 October 1972.


Lieutenant Traill's three surviving brothers also served during the war, each reaching senior rank: William Stewart Traill in the Royal Engineers; Henry Edward O'Brien Traill in the Royal Artillery (in the same brigade as Alexander); and Edmund Francis Tarleton Traill in the Army Service Corps.