Alexander, Robert Jocelyn

Alexander was the son of the Right Reverend William Alexander, Bishop of Armagh (later the Most Reverend Sir William Alexander, Protestant Primate of All Ireland). His mother, Cecil Frances Alexander (nee Humphreys) is famous as the writer of such hymns as All Things Bright and Beautiful and Once in Royal David’s City. After Winchester, Alexander was educated at Brasenose College, Oxford where he won the prestigious Newdigate Prize in 1874. He took a third in History that year, but stayed on to win the English Essay Prize in 1877 with the Influence of the Schoolmen upon Modern Literature, which was read in the Sheldonian Theatre in June 1877. He also won the Sacred Poem Prize in 1878.

In 1880 he was appointed to HM Inspectorate of Schools. He married Alice Rachel Humphreys on 5th January 1876 and they had a son who died in infancy and a daughter. Alexander was drowned when RMS Leinster was torpedoed in October 1918 by the German submarine UB-123, resulting in the greatest loss of life ever in the Irish Sea, with over 500 people perishing. The Leinster was acting as the Kingstown (now Dun Laoghaire) to Holyhead mail boat, carrying both passengers and mail; she now lies, virtually intact, about 100 feet down.

Alexander, who was 66 when he died, is buried not far from his famous parents in Plot A of the Derry City Cemetery.

Also on board was 14 year old Alfred Curzon King (E 1916-1918) who also perished. (see individual entry).

(rf Valerie Wallace, A LIFE OF THE HYMN-WRITER MRS ALEXANDER 1818-1895 [Lilliput, Dublin, 1996], p.115 – @LilliputPress

War: World War 1

  • Surname: Alexander
  • Forenames or initials: Robert Jocelyn
  • House: B
  • Years in School: 1868-1870
  • Rank: Civilian
  • Regiment: NA
  • Date of Birth: 11th June 1852
  • Date of Death: 10th October 1918
  • How Died: Killed by enemy action
  • Location in War Cloister: Not listed
  • Decoration: NA