An evacuee who became part of Blandford’s history.
D H Alexander was one of the most difficult names to track down on the memorial. It is only the digitisation of thousands of newspapers that gave me the breakthrough necessary to find him.
David was not a native of Blandford nor even of Dorset. He was born in Hendon, North West London 26 January 1926 the son of Hugh and Phyllis Alexander. Hugh worked in Insurance and had served with the London Scottish Regt in WW1 and Phyllis was a schoolteacher. David would have grown up in Hendon had not the Second World War intervened. David was 13½ when war broke out and was sent as a privately arranged evacuee with his brother, Patrick to live with his Uncle and Aunt, Louis and Margery Gill in Blandford.
Attending the Grammar School David won the Library prize for the school year 1941/2 and gained the Oxford School Certificate. David joined the RAF after VJ Day being appointed a Pilot Officer 22 February 1946, and as a Flying Officer a year later.
In 1947 David was a pilot in the RAF as part of the Occupation forces in Japan. He was one of the 7 pilots in ‘B’ Flight 17 Squadron RAF. The squadron were conducting normal peacetime training sorties with David flying Spitfire Mk XIV RN128 when the Squadron diary for September 19th 1947 records:
WE WERE ALL SHOCKED TO HEAR OF THE DEATH OF FLYING OFFICER ALEXANDER IN A FLYING ACCIDENT NEAR IWAKUNI. AS YET NEWS IS VERY MEAGRE AND WE ARE WAITING TO HEAR THE FULL FACTS ….
On the 23rd the diary notes:
SIGNALS HAVE ARRIVED REPORTING THAT FLYING OFFICER ALEXANDER WAS IN FORMATION WHEN HIS AIRCRAFT DEVELOPED ENGINE TROUBLE. HE ATTEMPTED TO GAIN HEIGHT PRIOR TO BALING OUT. HE BALED OUT AND AIRCRAFT CRASHED INTO DEEP WATER, WE STILL DON’T KNOW WHETHER HIS ‘CHUTE OPENED OR NOT.
David was 21 years old