McClean, Alexander (No. 32697)

McClean, Alexander (Alex)

Private

No. 32697, 2nd Battalion, Otago Regiment,

New Zealand Expeditionary Force (NZEF)

Died of wounds on Sunday 17 June 1917 (aged 28)

Buried:

Trois Arbres Cemetery, France (Grave I. R. 10)

Commemorated:

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

New Zealand World War One Roll of Honour

Journey of Remembering Belfast Book of Honour

BIOGRAPHY

Under the headline Donaghadee New Zealander Dies of Wounds the death of Private Alexander McClean was reported in the 21 July 1917 edition of the Newtownards Chronicle.  The report stated, ‘Intimation is to hand that Private Alex McClean New Zealand Forces has died of wounds received in action.  Deceased, who formerly resided at Donaghadee, and worked on the County Down Railway, emigrated four years ago.  He leaves a widow and two children in Dunedin.’

Alexander McClean was born on 7 November 1888 in Killaughey Street, Donaghadee and he was a son of John and Mary Ann McClean (nee McCartney) who were married on 10 November 1876 in Dundela Presbyterian Church Belfast.

The McClean family lived in County Armagh; in Killaughey Street, Donaghadee; in Newry, Co Down and at 2 Greenville Street, Belfast.

John McClean worked as a gardener and he and Mary Ann had eleven children including:

Ellen (born around 1884 in Co Armagh)

James (born around 1886 in Co Armagh)

Alexander (born 20 March 1887 in Donaghadee, Co Down, died 18 January 1888)

Alexander (born 7 November 1888 in Killaughey Street, Donaghadee, Co Down)

Mary Ann (born 6 February 1891 in Ballymote, Downpatrick, Co. Down)

David (born 24 March 1894 at 60 Cowan Street, Newry, Co Down)

Margaret (born 22 August 1896 at 80 Cowan Street, Newry, Co Down)

Both Alexanders were baptised in Donaghadee Parish Church of Ireland Church.

Their father, John McClean, died around 1905.

Alexander McClean and Hilda Bunting were married on 23 September 1910 in St Anne’s Church of Ireland Cathedral Belfast.  Alexander worked on the County Down Railway and they lived in Donaghadee and Belfast.  Hilda Bunting already had a daughter, Andrena Bunting, who was born on 15 October 1908 in School House Brae, Donaghadee.

Alexander and Hilda McClean’s daughter, Winifred Margaret McClean, was born on 7 February 1911 at 19 Belmont Street, Belfast and the McClean family moved to New Zealand around 1913.  Alexander worked as a labourer in the Leith Works, Dunedin.

Alexander McClean enlisted in July 1916 and it was noted in his attestation papers that he was 5 feet 8 inches tall with a dark complexion, blue eyes and brown hair.  He trained in New Zealand and left Wellington aboard H.M.N.Z.T. No. 68 on 15 November 1916.  He arrived in Devonport on 29 January 1917 and was posted to France on 1 March 1917.

Private Alex McClean (No. 32697) served with the 2nd Battalion Otago Regiment NZEF and he died of gunshot wounds to his arm and head on 17 June 1917 in No. 2 Australian Casualty Clearing Station.

At the time of his death his wife Hilda and her two children were living at 9 Richardson Street, St Kilda, Dunedin, New Zealand.  His mother, Mary Ann, was living at 2 Greenville Street, Belfast.