ALEXANDER, Ernest Wright VC  [1870-1934]

Ernest Wright Alexander was born into a wealthy Liverpool shipping family in 1870 at 87 Everton Road (now demolished). The family then moved to 'Homesefton', Aigburth Drive L17 where he spent his formative years. After attending Harrow and the Royal Military Academy he was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Royal Artillery in 1888, reaching the rank of Major General when he retired in 1920. He is buried in Putney Cemetery, his headstone bearing no mention of his honours, which was at his specific request. As a Major he was awarded the Victoria Cross in 1914 for his bravery commanding his battery the citation reading:

For conspicuous bravery and great ability at Elouges on 24th August, 1914, when the flank guard was attacked by a German corps, in handling his battery against overwhelming odds with such conspicuous success that all his guns were saved, notwithstanding that they had to be withdrawn by hand by himself and three other men. This enabled the retirement of the 5th Division to be carried out without serious loss. Subsequently Lieutenant-Colonel Alexander (then Major) rescued a wounded man under a heavy fire, with the greatest gallantry and devotion to duty.

He subsequently played an important part in the development of artillery tactics during the war. He left the army in 1920 with the rank of Major General and bought a country house and estate in Devon where he died in 1934. His ashes were buried in the family plot at Putney Vale Cemetery but at his express wish his headstone bears none of the honours which had been awarded to him.

'Homesefton', 18 Aigburth Drive, L17

A substantial mansion overlooking Sefton Park, it stands on the corner where Livingstone Drive North meets Aigburth Drive.

Ernest Alexander's medals


The most comprehensive account of his life is in the excellent book Liverpool VCs by James Murphy [Pen & Sword 2008].