Patterson, Alexander (No. 18607)

Patterson, Alexander (Alec)

Rifleman

No. 18607, ‘A’ Company, 13th Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles

Killed in action on Monday 6 August 1917 (aged 24)

Buried:

Ypres Town Cemetery Extension, Belgium (Grave III. H. 14)

Commemorated:

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Holywood and District War Memorial

Glencraig Parish Church of Ireland Church (Holy Trinity)

Rockport School Craigavad

BIOGRAPHY

In some records his surname is spelt Paterson.

Alexander Patterson was born on 23 December 1892 in Sion, County Meath and he was a son of William and Sarah Bowden Patterson (nee Cooke, sometimes Cook) who were married on 16 September 1880 in Sandy Row Presbyterian Church Belfast.  William Patterson, a gardener, was a son of Hugh Patterson, also a gardener.  Sarah Bowden Cooke was a daughter of John Cooke, a warper.

William Patterson worked as a gardener for the Dunville family and in the 1880s/1890s he was working at Sion House in Navan, Co Meath.  Sion House was one of the residences of the Dunville family and it was used by them as a base for their pursuit of hunting.  John Dunville Dunville, father of Second Lieutenant John Spencer Dunville VC, was brought up partly at Redburn House, Holywood and partly at Sion House, Navan.  John Dunville Dunville was Master of the Meath Hounds from 1911 to 1915.

By 1901 William and Sarah Patterson and two of their sons, Sam and Alec, were living in Ardnalea Cottage, Craigavad.

William and Sarah Patterson (nee Cooke) had seven children including:

Sarah Jane (born 28 October 1882 at 3 Blythe Street, Belfast)

Thomas (born 14 April 1888 at Sion, Navan, Co Meath)

Samuel (Sam, born 25 August 1889 at Sion, Navan, Co Meath)

Alexander (Alec, born 23 December 1892 at Sion, Navan, Co Meath)

Mary Agnes (born 1 November 1894 at Sion, Navan, Co Meath)

By 1911 four of their seven children had died.

Prior to the outbreak of the Great War brothers Alec and Sam Patterson both worked as gardeners and they were active members of their local company of the Ulster Volunteer Force.  Alec Patterson worked as an under-gardener at Rockport School Craigavad.  Both men enlisted in September 1914 in Holywood and then trained at Clandeboye.  Sam was drafted to India and Alec went to France with 108th Brigade in the 36th (Ulster) Division.  Both men were accomplished musicians and Sam played in his Regimental Band.  Described in Glencraig Parish Magazine as ‘a splendid specimen of robust manhood’ Alec Patterson went into the fighting line.

Rifleman Alexander Patterson was wounded in action on 14 February 1917 and then, after two years at the Front, he was killed in action on 6 August 1917 during the Third Battle of Ypres.

Rifleman Alexander Patterson was 24 when he died and he was buried in Ypres Town Cemetery Extension, Belgium.  There is an inscription on his CWGC headstone:

SAFE IN THE ARMS OF JESUS

Rifleman Alexander Patterson is commemorated on Holywood and District War Memorial; in Glencraig Parish Church of Ireland Church (Holy Trinity) and in Rockport School Craigavad.