Alexander Donaldson (1898–1949)


Queen's Own (Royal West Kent Regiment) G/19494 7th Battalion

Alex moved from Wales to Derbyshire during his youth and lived at Chadwick Nick, Crich. He worked as a railway signalman. He had attended Belper Fleet School and was listed on their WW1 Roll of Honour. He married Eliza Booth at Crich in 1917. From the marriage certificate: Alexander Donaldson (19) married Eliza Booth (32) at Christ Church, Belper, 8 January 1917. He was recorded as being a porter and his father as James Donaldson (Inspector). Eliza's father was Samuel Joseph Booth. Interestingly he was recorded as being a porter not a serving soldier which infers he had been discharged for some reason. Sadly Eliza died in 1918.
Alex was captured as a PoW at ‘Moy’ in March 1918 and was interned at Stendal. Arriving home in March 1919, he married Tamar Clarke in 1923.

[Glynn Waite: railway researcher]
Alex was born 29 October 1897 living at 22 Coton Park, Linton; a railway signalman. Wife named as Tamar.
His first wife Eliza died in 1918 aged 33. He married Tamar Clarke in 1922 in the Belper area.
A. Donaldson, was a Class 5 signalman at Ripley Marehay Junction (which gave access to the Goods Depot / site of the original 1856 passenger station at Ripley and a couple of small pits). The only other information provided is that he became a Porter Signalman on 15th January 1923, a signalman on 3rd July 1923, and was appointed to a post in his current grade on 21st December 1923 (although not necessarily at this particular signal box).
From early 1916 the railways started to employ large numbers of women in various roles, especially as porters at stations. Attached is a photo of three female porters at Belper station where Alex was a porter in 1917.

Photo Glynn Waite

Female portersat Belper station

Female porters at Belper station

Medal Index Record
G/19494 Pte DONALDSON Alexander; 7/RWK; awarded the Victory and British War Medals

Newspaper Reports

Belper News, 19 March 1915
The exqisite illuminated "Roll of Honour" of old boys of the Belper Fleet Schools who are now serving with the Colours, worked by Mr Bert Ryde, contains the names of nearly 80 former scholars. They are as follows:- ... ... Alexander Donaldson ... ...

Belper News, 19 January 1917
The marriage took place last week at Christ Church, Belper, of Miss Eliza Booth, of Crown Terrace, Belper and Alexander Donaldson, of Crich, the clergy officiating being the Rev. C. E. Baldwin and the Rev H. Howard. The Bride was attired in cream silk poplin, and wore a wreath and veil. Her sister Miss A Booth was the bridesmaid, and wore a white solk with pale blue hat. For a number of years Miss Booth has been an ardent worker at Christ Church.

Derbyshire Courier 1 April 1919
Amongst the prisoners of war home from Germany no fewer than four reached Crich during the past few days. These are Sgt Norman Smith, Roes Lane; Lance Cpl Walter Mellors, the Common; Private Abe Lichfield, Fritchley; and Private A Donaldson, the Reservoir, Chadwick Nick,. Sgt Smith was captured in April near Albert, and after six weeks work behind the lines he was moved to the N.C.O.’s camp, Parchim. Mechlinberg. The journey made in cattle trucks, with 40 in a truck, took three days, and during this time they had neither food nor water. Lance Corporal Mellors was taken prisoner on 1 July 1916, and was moved to Soltau Hanover, where he has been on farm work. His principal diet, he says, has been black bread, potatoes and water. The locality from he came was in a fearful condition from shortages of food and large numbers had died. Lance Corporal Mellors joined the first Sherwood with the first lot of Crich lads in September 1914. Along with him on Monday came Private A Lichfield, who has been a prisoner for four years and two months. They been in Germany together for a month, and came from Hanburg as companions. Sad circumstances attend the homecoming of Private Donaldson, whose wife was buried about three weeks ago.

Prisoner of War Records
Donaldson Alexander G19494 ; R.W.K.; Moy 21.3.18; Knighton 29.11.97, Belper (Stendal)
Donaldson Alexander 19494; Gunner;7 R.W.K.Moy 21.3.18; Stendal; 29.11.97 Knigton; Frau: Belper, 11 Crown Terrace Bridge Street. (Wittenberg)
[Moy was probably Moÿ-de-l'Aisne]

Alex Donaldson's brother John Donaldson is also on the Roll of Honour. Their sister, Janet Donaldson, married John Clarke.


1901: Hereford

Forename Surname Relationship Age Occupation Where born
James Donaldson Head 47 Pipe layer navvy Kingsbarns
Margaret Donaldson wife 28   Airdrie
John Donaldson son 6   Milingaire
Alexander Donaldson son 3   Knighton, Radnor
Janet Donaldson daughter 1   Knighton, Radnor
Alexander Donaldson brother 27 Pipe layer navvy Crawness
Emily Williams servant 18 Housemaid Knighton, Radnor
David Donaldson brother 23 Pipe layer navvy Heref.

RG13; Piece: 5182; Folio: 45; Page: 7

1911: Bargate Road, Belper

Forename Surname Relationship Age Occupation Where born
James Donaldson Head 47 Public Works Inspector, Water Board Kingsbarns, Fife
Margaret Donaldson wife 33   Lennoxtown, Stirling
John Donaldson son 16   Dumbarton
Alexander Donaldson son 13   Knighton, Radnor
Janet Donaldson daughter 11   Knighton, Radnor
Maggie Donaldson daughter 7   Lennoxtown, Stirling

RG14PN20970 RG78PN1250 RD436 SD3 ED8 SN187

1939 Register: Repton area
Alexander Donaldson b.19 November 1897; railway signalman
Tamar Donaldson b.16 October 1897
Stanley Donaldson b.30 August 1923; hosiery factory worker, textile