Col. Alexander’s Farewell.
The Y.M C.A. hut at Biscot was crowded on Tuesday night, when a farewell concert was given to Col. C. H. and Mrs. Alexander. Col. Alexander has been appointed to a still more important command of the Royal Artillery.
There was a very large attendance of officers, and the visitors included many ladies. A delightful concert was provided by members of the Three Arts Club. London, the arrangements having been carried out by the Entertainments Committee.
During the interval Councillor Impey made a presentation of a piano from the Committee of the Waste Paper Scheme for the Y.M.C.A. hut. He said there was nothing like music to keep the lads going, and he hoped it would not be long before they would enjoy it among their own folks again, when peace was declared — (applause).
Col. Alexander accepted the gift for the Y.M.C.A.. and said the delight the instrument had given that evening was only an earnest of the many happy evenings to come. He proposed a Hearty’ vote of thanks to the donors.--Mr. Bulford; Y.M.C.A. Leader, seconded, and then asked Col. Alexander to accept a small gift from the staff of the Y.M.C.A. Hut. Col. Alexander, he said, had been extremely kind to them, and had taken a great interest in the work of the Association. He (the speaker) had been in a good many camps, but had never worked under so kind a commanding officer. Their gift to him was the Bible from which he read the Lesson at his first church parade there on Sunday— (applause).
The presentation was made amidst great applause. The Bible is a handsome edition, and bears the inscription: “To Col. C. H. Alexander, K.A.. a token of appreciation from the Y.M.C.A., Biscot Camp, Luton. H. D. Bulford Leader."
In responding. Col. Alexander said this had taken him by surprise, and he was deeply touched by this kind expression.. It was the greatest grief to him to leave that reserve brigade, and he was proud of having commanded it. It had brought him into contact with some of the best fellows he had known in his life, and it was impossible for him to adequately express his thanks to all those who had so loyally supported him in everything he had tried to do. He would never forget it—(loud applause).
Lieut. Col. MacHugh then made a presentation to Mrs. Alexander. He remarked that Col. Alexander had been appointed to a bigger and more important command, and had well earned it. A number of those who had been at Biscot from the start felt that they could not let the farewell pass without the offering of some small token as a souvenir of the esteem and regard in which Col. and Mis. Alexander were held by all. The King’s Regulations precluded a junior officer from making any comment on his superior—(laughter)—but he could say of Mrs. Alexander that she had taken the greatest possible interest in the officers and men of the brigade. On every possible occasion she had been with them at their sports and other functions, and she had been ever willing to do anything for the brigade. They felt they must make some little acknowledgment of that kindness, and asked her to accept a silver tea tray, as a small token of their regard. They hoped it would recall to her some of the Luton friendships. They wished Col. and Mrs. Alexander every happiness and prosperity in their new sphere— (loud applause).
Mrs. Alexander was obviously overwhelmed by her feelings, but managed later to suitably convoy her sincere thanks in private to the officers. The tray bore a suitable inscription and the names of the officers (about 80).
At the close the officers and men gave cheers for the artistes on the initiative of Major Scammell, D.S.O. Before Col. and Mrs. Alexander left they cheered them, and sang “For they are jolly good fellows."
Several members of the Waste Paper Committee afterwards inspected the Y.M.C.A. Hut and were pleased with all the arrangements.
- Miss Mary Hilliard and Mr. Ceridig Waiters (vocalists)
- Miss Ruby Wilson (light comedienne)
- Miss Gwendoline Farrar (daughter of Lady Farrar) (cellist)
- Mr. Ben Osborne and Miss Nellie Perrier (in comedy sketches)
- Miss Ethel Robinson (pianist).
[Col Alexander's Bible eventually came into the possession of Mrs Ivy Coles-Maier, of The Old Inn, Woodfalls, near Salisbury, Wilts, who kept it close to her in her last years. Her grandson, Anthony D. Green, found it among family memorabilia and we are delighted to include his photographs on this page.]