Vinycomb MM, Alexander Richard Day (No. 1942414)

Vinycomb, Alexander Richard Day (Richard)

Military Medal

Lance Corporal

No. 1942414, 185 (S) Tunnelling Company, Royal Engineers     

Died as the result of an accident on Saturday 24 April 1943 (aged 49)


Towcester Cemetery, Northamptonshire, England (Row G Grave 7)


Commonwealth War Graves Commission


Alexander Richard Day Vinycomb was born on 9 December 1893 in Riverside, Holywood and he was the youngest son of John Vinycomb, who was born in 1834 in Newcastle-on-Tyne and died in London in 1928, and Dorothea Vinycomb (nee Thorpe) who was born in 1852 in Cork and died in London in December 1923.

John Vinycomb worked as an artist, designer and illuminator and Dorothea Thorpe was his second wife.  They lived in Church Road, Holywood until 1909.

John Vinycomb was a member of the Royal Irish Academy; Vice-President of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland; Vice-President of the Ex-libra Society of London and founder and past President of the Belfast Art Society and the Ulster Arts Club. He also served as President of Belfast Naturalists’ Field Club. He was a recognised authority on heraldry and illuminating, and he published books, notably on the illustration of bookplates. The City Hall in Belfast has an example of his scroll, and the Belfast Harbour Office and the Victoria and Albert Museum also have examples of his work.

John Vinycomb, a son of Andrew Vinycomb, and Sarah Swinburn, a daughter of Joseph Swinburn, were married on 14 July 1860 in Knockbreda Parish Church of Ireland Church (St. Andrew’s) and they had one child, William Andrew Vinycomb, who was born in 1862 and died on 7 December 1880.

Sarah Vinycomb was 23 when she died on 28 January 1866.

John Vinycomb and Dorothea Thorpe were married on 13 October 1875 in Queenstown Parish Church of Ireland Church, Clonmel, Co Cork.

John and Dorothea Vinycomb (nee Thorpe) had eleven children, all of whom were born in Holywood, including:

Frances Dorothea (born 13 April 1877)

Thomas Bernard (born 2 November 1878; died in June 1943 in Brighton, Sussex)

John Knox (born 14 June 1880)

Robert Knox (born 21 March 1882)

Sarah (born 23 May1884)

Andrew (born 3 April 1886; died 1916)

Violet Jane (born 13 April 1888; died 1963)

Vera (born 16 April 1890)

Marcus (born 8 February 1892)

Alexander Richard Day (born 9 December 1893)

During the First World War Andrew Vinycomb served with the Royal Medical Corps and he was the husband of Frances Anna Wilkinson.  He died on 5 August 1916 and was buried in St. Peter’s Cemetery, Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada.

During the First World War Marcus Vinycomb served with the Irish Guards.

During the First World War Thomas Bernard Vinycomb served with the Royal Army Ordnance Corps (he attained the rank of Captain) and in 1918 he was awarded the Military Cross ‘for conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty while in charge of an ammunition depot. The depot had been under heavy shell fire all day, and as the enemy approached in the afternoon it was considered necessary to blow up the dumps.  This officer gave the necessary orders, and after destroying all records personally fired the dumps until he was severely wounded by a bursting grenade’ (Page 8852, Supplement to the London Gazette 26 July 1918).

Thomas Bernard Vinycomb was the husband of Emily Katharine Adams, who was born on 14 January 1875 in Omagh, Co. Tyrone, and died on 25 January 1973 in Brighton, Sussex.  They were married on 24 December 1907 in First Omagh Presbyterian Church and at that time Bernard Vinycomb was a lecturer in physics.  They had three children:

Dora Katharine (born 1908 in Woolwich, Kent; died 2005 in Dunoon, Argyll)

Godfrey Bernard (born 1910 in Woolwich; died 2000 in Edinburgh)

William Anthony MBE (born 1914 in Wandsworth; died 1999 in New Forest, Hampshire)

During the First World War Alexander Richard Day Vinycomb served with 185 (S) Tunnelling Company, Royal Engineers (CWGC) and he was awarded the Military Medal.  He originally served with the London Electrical Engineers, a territorial force unit (no. 94094).  He later transferred to the Royal Engineers Special Brigade responsible for chemical warfare.  He served with ‘K’ Special Company, 3rd Battalion, and his award of the Military Medal is noted in the unit war diary on 21 November 1919.

In the autumn of 1921, Alexander Richard Day Vinycomb married Alice A. Herrd de Nordwall, who was born on 6 June 1897 in Germany, and died in 1970 in Horley, Surrey.  They had two children: Richard and Heather.

After the Great War, Alexander Richard Day Vinycomb worked as a mining engineer (and for a short time as a journalist) and on 20 February 1926 he and his family moved from England to British Guiana in South America.

Alexander Richard Day Vinycomb served again during the Second World War and his commemorative entry in the CWGC Debt of Honour records his war service with 185 (S) Tunnelling Company, Royal Engineers – which operated during the First World War.

[Some Tunnelling Companies were formed early in the Second World War on the assumption that there was going to be a similar kind of trench warfare on the Western Front as there was in the First World War and then, later in the Second World War, Tunnelling Companies were deployed in Gibraltar to dig tunnels there.]

Lance Corporal Alexander Richard Day Vinycomb MM died on 24 April 1943 following a road accident in which he sustained multiple injuries including a fractured skull.  He was buried in Towcester Cemetery, Northamptonshire and there is an inscription on his CWGC headstone: