Stuart, Alexander (Reverend Alex)
Chaplain 4th Class
Royal Army Chaplains’ Department attached
12th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles
Died as a result of enemy action on Wednesday 24 October 1917 (aged 37)
Ruyaulcourt Military Cemetery, France (Grave F. 5)
Bessbrook War Memorial
Bessbrook Presbyterian Church
The Rev Alex Stuart’s death was reported in the 2 November 1917 edition of the County Down Spectator under the headline Rev Alex Stuart Killed. It was noted in the report that he was ‘a brother of our respected townsman, Mr J.C. Stuart’.
The Rev Alex Stuart was a brother of Joseph Crawford Stuart who lived in Dufferin Avenue, Bangor. Joseph Stuart and Anne Robinson Middlemore were married on 10 August 1898 in Fisherwick Presbyterian Church in Belfast. It was because of his brother Joseph’s connection with Bangor that Alex’s death was reported in the County Down Spectator.
Alexander Stuart was born on 14 August 1880 in the townland of Mavemacullen, Tandragee and he was a son of the Rev Joseph Crawford Stuart (a Presbyterian Clergyman) and Sarah Jane Stuart (nee Fleming, sometimes Flemming) who were married on 21 September 1864 in Magherafelt.
The Rev Joseph Crawford Stuart served in several different churches and so the Stuart family lived in several different places and they had at least eleven children:
Robert Barr (born 2 August 1865 in Culnady)
Rebecca (born 11 July 1867 in Culnady)
Joseph Crawford (born 29 March 1870 in Culnady)
Fanny Jane (born 8 September 1871 in Culnady)
John (Jack, born 9 January 1873 in Culnady)
Unnamed boy (born 9 March 1874 in Ballymacilcurr)
Unnamed girl (born 30 October 1875 in Mountnorris)
Henry (Harry, born 18 December 1878 in Mountnorris)
Alexander (born 14 August 1880 in Mavemacullen)
Unnamed girl (born 9 December 1883 in Ballyshiel)
William (born 15 April 1885 in Ballyshiel)
Alexander Stuart worked as a grocer’s assistant before he entered Theological College and it was reported that he was one of five brothers who entered Church Ministry.
Alexander Stuart’s father died of heart disease at 52 Brookvale Avenue, Belfast on 30 November 1893 (aged 80).
On 7 June 1916, the Rev Alex Stuart went to Malta and from there to Egypt to work on behalf of the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) amongst soldiers. After that, with the support of his congregation in Bessbrook, he volunteered to serve as an Army Chaplain.
The Rev Alex Stuart went to France as a Chaplain with the Ulster Division and had only been at the Front for ten days when he was killed by an exploding shell.
The Rev Alex Stuart was 37 when he died and he was buried in Ruyaulcourt Military Cemetery, France.
Memorial services were held in Bessbrook Presbyterian Church and the Rev Alex Stuart is commemorated on Bessbrook War Memorial and in Bessbrook Presbyterian Church.