25 October 2018
One of two Harper Adams alumni who died on 31 July 1917, Alexander Daniel Reid was born on 2 February 1882 to Margaret Reid and Capt. William Thomas Reid (Banffshire). In the 1891 census the family were living at West Cromwell Road, Kensington. He had a sister, Rachael and brothers William (who was close in age, possibly a twin), Stewart and Henry. His father died in 1899 and on the date of the 1901 census his widowed mother and sister were recorded as living at that address, whilst his younger brother Henry was at boarding school in Melcombe Regis, Dorset.
He attended Westminster College and then Sandhurst before joining Harper Adams for one term from 5 February to 28 March 1907. His original intention had been to farm at home or in India but like many of his generation he went to farm in Canada. His mother’s address (or country of origin) is given as Cowichan, Vancouver, B.C. in his citation although her place of birth is recorded as Canada in the 1891 census but Scotland in the 1901 census.
Having served in the Indian Army, from 1901 to 1909 (including his time at Harper Adams) he emigrated to Canada (possibly with his mother and other family members) and then rejoined the 7th Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers as a Major in 1915. He assumed command of the 1st Royal Irish Rifles, 8 July 1917 and was killed in action at Ypres 31 July 1917, age 35, His mother requested that his D.S.O. awarded on 4 June 1917, should be forwarded to his brother Lieut. Henry Francis Reid, also of the 7th Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. He was mentioned in Despatches on 22 May 1917 and awarded the Silver Medal of Italy.
There is a more detailed account of Lieutenant Colonel Reid’s military service in Menin Gate South: In Memory and In Mourning by Paul Chapman (Pen & Sword, 2016. ISBN 9781473850873)
Lieutenant Colonel Reid is remembered with honour at the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial (Panel 22)
From October 1914 to October 1918, five major offensives occurred at Ypres (now Ieper) in Belgium. By the time the last shells fell nearly 200,000 servicemen had been killed. The Menin Gate bears the names of more than 54,000 soldiers who died in the Ypres Salient, who have no known grave.