16th November 1878 - 21st July 1917 (age 38)
16th Bn. West Yorkshire Regiment
Alexander was the eldest of three sons of a solicitor Charles Buchannan, and his wife Sarah. They lived at Ruswarp near Whitby, although Alexander was born at Ormesby. Alexander studied at Durham School before taking up law, and by April 1911 at the age of 22 he was living at Holborn, London and working as an articled clerk. In June 1901 he was admitted as a solicitor and he later came to Thirsk as a partner in the firm Rhodes & Buchannan, Solicitors. In 1909 he was living at Mowbray Place and later moved to Belgrave Terrace. On 22nd August 1911 Alexander married Mary Wynyard Haynes at Sowerby Church. Mary was the daughter of Lt. Colonel Jonathan Wynyard Haynes who had travelled in India, Africa and the West Indies. The family owned property in Barbados. Mary's brother William had died in 1907, a lieutenant in 21st Punjabs, Bengal Infantry. It appears that Alexander and Mary lived together at the Wynyard Haynes' home at Heathcote, Front Street, a few doors from the Crown & Anchor public house. Lt. Colonel Haynes passed away in June 1914 and is buried in St.Oswald's churchyard.
Alexander applied for a commission in the Army and was certified "of good moral character" by the vicar of Sowerby on 2nd May 1915 and on the next day he was certified medically fit being 6 ft tall and weighing 185lbs. He joined the 6th Bn. West Yorkshires, and on 5th January 1917 he was attached to the 16th Bn. D Company. The war diary records that he proceeded on leave from France to England on 3rd June 1917. The next mention of Alexander is extracted from the 16th Bn. war diary on 21st July 1917 as follows:
At temp. billets at NEUVILLE ST VAAST & at sundown moving to front of Acheville. While the companies were moving off by platoon from NEUVILLE ST VAAST a few hostile shells had fallen on the vicinity and one H.E. dropped directly in front of "D" Coy who were just about to move off 2nd Lieuts Buchannan and Robb were killed outright together with 4 OR & 1 OR subsequently died of wounds. 40 OR being also wounded, making a total of 47 in all.
Alexander lies in La Targette Military Cemetery, plot 1.F.11. 2nd Lieut. J.Robb and the four other ranks killed on the same day lie in graves on either side of him. Alexander's will probate shows he left gross £807 7s 2d. His widow Mary did not remarry, she died in 1950 and was buried in St.Oswald's churchyard.
Alexander Buchannan lies at La Targette Military Cemetery alongside a number of his colleagues killed by the same shell - "In God's Holy Keeping"
The information on this page was compiled by Steve Billings.
Information about Alexander Buchannan on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website
Information about Alexander Buchannan on the War Graves Photographic Project website
Part of the St Oswald's Church website