Wounded twice in battle, awarded three medals and stood alongside his best friend who was killed.
Private David Alexander, of the King’s Own Scottish Borderers, knew the horrors of The Great War intimately.
The story of Private Alexander, the grandfather of veteran SNP councillor David Alexander, has been unearthed by the councillor’s good friend Colin Seivwright who has now produced a booklet – ‘From Falkirk to Flanders: The WWI Diaries of Private David Alexander’ – for the Alexander family.
The 19-year-old was shipped to France in early January 1915 and spent the next two months digging trenches. During the Battle of the Somme on September 3, 1916 he was wounded but made it back to a trench.
There were 283 casualties that day, including his best friend Private Robert Baird.
Colin said: “We will never know how badly Robert’s death affected David and how he must have felt when he returned to the frontline. No doubt he was wondering if it was his turn next.”
Private Alexander was wounded again on November 8, 1917 during the third battle of Ypres and awarded the 1915 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.
Mr Alexander said: “I was very young when my grandfather died. It is difficult to comprehend what he experienced as a young man and how he must have felt when the truth of the futility of World War One and the scale of the human suffering became apparent.
‘‘I recall when he heard I wanted to be a soldier like him he advised me not to be a ‘kiltie’.”