Robert Alexander

Robert Alexander was an officer in the 2nd Bengal European Light Cavalry, commissioned on 20 Dec 1848 and by November 1856 was a captain. He was one of the first officers to transfer to the 20th Hussars on 30 Sep 1862. He was promoted to major on 7 Dec 1867. After the 20th came to England in 1872 he was temporarily in command of the regiment after an incident in September 1874. An officer friend of his, Captain John Bird, who is the other officer in this photo, seated on the table, was shot dead by a man in his own troop when they were firing at the rifle range. It was deliberate murder by a man of bad character who was eventually hanged. But the CO, Colonel Cotton spent much time away from the regiment dealing with the aftermath of the incident, and Major Alexander took over. On 26 Nov 1876 he was given a brevet of lieutenant-colonel, and when Colonel Cotton retired on half pay on 12 July 1878 he became commanding officer of the regiment with the substantive rank of lieutenant-colonel. Lt-Col Alexander himself retired on half-pay on 14 Dec 1878. He died in 1902. The photo of Captain Bird and Major Alexander in patrol jackets was taken in Colchester some time in 1872 or 1873 before the regiment moved to Aldershot in August 1873. Image courtesy of

Regimental Details | Commanding Officers


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by Stephen Luscombe