Remembering Alexander Best, Alexander Neave and Frank Johnson

Posted on: 14, February, 2019

Every day on the British Army Ancestors Facebook page I take time to commemorate a British soldier. This post will look at three of the men I have remembered recently; from left to right: Alexander Best, Alexander Neave, and Frank Johnson.

Lieutenant Alexander Archie Dunlop Best

Alexander Best of the Gordon Highlanders was killed in an attack on a train, near Namboomspruit in South Africa on the 14th July 1901. He was just 22 years old. This portrait of him was published in the Black & White Budget.

Captain Alexander Lionel William Neave

Alexander Neave played for Richmond Rugby Football Club and is wearing the club’s colours in this undated photo. He lost his life on the 19th September 1918 whilst serving with the 110th Maratha Light Infantry and is buried in Ramleh War Cemetery in Israel. This photo of him appeared in the Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News on the 12th October 1918.

1041 L-Cpl Frank Cecil Johnson

There are a lot of young faces in this study of the drummers of the 15th (Service) Battalion (2nd Birmingham Pals), Royal Warwickshire Regiment. The photo appears in the Birmingham City Battalions Book of Honour, published in 1919, and is a recent acquisition for me.

Although this book has appeared in digital format for a while, the quality of the digital photos leaves something to be desired and I acquired my copy of this book with the intention of generating better versions of these images.

There are 20 men in this photo, all named on the facing page, and yet the only man I can identify here is the single lance-corporal, listed as 1041 L-Corpl F C Johnson. He is the man in the middle row, third from left.

Frank Cecil Johnson would arrive in France as a corporal and would later be promoted to sergeant. Probably aged about 22 when this photo was taken, he was killed in action on the 1st July 1917 and is buried at Roclincourt military cemetery in France. He was 24 years old at the time of his death, unmarried, the son of Richard and Fanny Johnson of Moseley, Birmingham. His parents chose to have the words AT REST inscribed on his Commonwealth War Graves Commission headstone.