McDowell, Alexander (No. 332021)

McDowell, Alexander

Private

No. 332021, 1st/6th Battalion, King’s (Liverpool Regiment)

Killed in action in France on Tuesday 9 April 1918 (aged 32)

No known grave

Commemorated:

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Loos Memorial, France (Panel 27 to 30)

Second Newtownards Presbyterian Church

BIOGRAPHY

In the Soldiers Died in the Great War 1914 – 1919 database it is recorded that Private Alexander McDowell (No. 332021) was born in Newtownards and enlisted in Liverpool.

Private Alexander McDowell (No. 332021) served with the King’s (Liverpool Regiment) and he was officially presumed to have been killed in action on or since 9 April 1918.

In the Army Registers of Soldiers’ Effects his brother John was authorised to receive payments owing to him.

Private Alexander McDowell (No. 332021) has no known grave, and he is commemorated on the Loos Memorial in France and in Second Newtownards Presbyterian Church.

In some records his surname is spelt MacDowell.

In civilian records his name is often recorded as Robert Alexander McDowell.

Robert Alexander McDowell was born on 6 November 1885 at Castle Street, Newtownards and he was a son of David Watson McDowell, a grocer, and Emily Stewart McDowell (nee Watson).  David Watson McDowell, a shopkeeper from Newtownards and Emily Stewart Watson were married on 6 June 1882 in First Greyabbey Presbyterian Church.  David Watson McDowell was a son of Robert McDowell, a farmer.  Emily Stewart Watson from Ballyboley, Greyabbey was a daughter of Alexander Watson, a farmer.  They had four children:

Stafford Hutcheson (born 8 March 1883 at Court Square, Newtownards; died from convulsions 24 June 1883 at Castle Street, Newtownards aged 3 months)

John (born 28 July 1884 at Court Square Newtownards)

Robert Alexander (born 6 November 1885 at Castle Street, Newtownards)

Emily Isabella (Emma, born 7 April 1887 at Mary Street, Newtownards; died from typhoid fever 19 April 1905 at Mary Street, Newtownards)

Their mother, Emily Stewart MacDowell (nee Watson), died of phthisis at 23 Mary Street, Newtownards on 22 March 1888 (aged 33).  She was interred in the family burying ground at Greyabbey, and in one document she was described as the wife of a clerk in a bakery.

David Watson McDowell’s brother, John McDowell, a farmer from Quilly, Dromore, Co Down, and Mary Mills from Ballysallagh, Newtownards were married on 8 May 1879 in Hillsborough Presbyterian Church.  John McDowell was a son of Robert McDowell, a farmer, and Mary Mills was a daughter of Alexander Mills, a farmer.  They had six children:  Anna Matilda (born 1 April 1880 at Quilly); David Watson (born 26 January 1882 at Quilly, Dromore, Co Down); Amelia Isabella (born 3 February 1884 at Quilly, Dromore, Co Down; married James Frazer, a farmer from Backnamullagh; in 1901); Robert; Ernest, and Mary.

In 1901 John’s nephew, Robert Alexander McDowell (the casualty), was living with them.

John McDowell died from cancer on 27 October 1907 (aged 63) and, in 1911 Ena (aged 7; born 12 September 1903) was listed as being the widowed Mary’s daughter.  Being Anna’s daughter, Ena was in fact Mary’s granddaughter.

In 1911 David Watson McDowell, a widower, and his son, Robert Alexander McDowell who worked as a painter and decorator, were living at 23 Spruce Street, Belfast.  At that time Robert Alexander McDowell’s brother John, also a painter and decorator, was staying with his cousin Amelia McDowell (nee Frazer), her husband, and two children.

David Watson McDowell, a widowed labourer died from debility at 23 Spruce Street, Belfast on 3 August 1918 (aged 73).  His death was registered by his son John, a painter and decorator.

Robert Alexander McDowell served with the 2/9th King’s (Liverpool Regiment) and with the 1/6th King’s (Liverpool Regiment).

He made his will on 21 March 1917, and left everything to his father, David Watson McDowell.  He was hospitalised in July 1917 and treated for dental caries.

Private Alexander McDowell was awarded the Victory Medal and the British War Medal, and he is commemorated in Second Newtownards Presbyterian Church.