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Prestonpans and Vicinity

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provided with the means of relief, could be exposed were
especially remarkable.
" At Inkermann, hour after hour, and day after day, he toiled through scenes which those who have not witnessed a battlefield, and the terrors of the hospital tents, can never imagine or conceive, upheld by the noblest sense of duty; and many men now alive can bear witness to the heroic calm and skill which saved life and limb for them, and the prodigality of care he bestowed on others regardless of everything but his sacred duties. In Lord Raglan's despatch he is described 'as deserving to be most honourably mentioned. ' All through the winter he never left his postónay more, from the time he joined the Light Division till the British army quitted the shores of the Crimea, he never was absent from his duty a single day.
"On the 12th of January 1855 he was appointed Deputy-Inspector-General, and he went to Kertch with Sir George Brown as principal medical officer of the expeditionary force.
"In General Codrington's despatch of March 18th 1856, in answer to an address from the House of Commons, Dr Alexander is also mentioned, and he was recommended by Dr Andrew Smith for promotion to the rank of Local-Inspector-General for service during the Russian war.
" Dr Alexander remained at home just one month and twenty-one days, when he was again ordered for service in Canada as principal medical officer; but after performing that duty for six months Lord Panmure nominated him one of the Royal Commissioners to inquire into the sanitary state of the army, and he returned to England to discharge the functions of his appointment.
" He was also selected to draw up a new code of regulations for the management of barracks and hospitals; and on the retirement of Sir Andrew Smith on the 22nd June 1858, Dr Alexander was appointed Director-General of the Army Medical Department, which appointment he held up to the day of his death.
" He was also one of the Honorary Surgeons to Her Majesty, and a Companion of the Bath.
" A few weeks ago he was interrupted in the usual assiduous discharge of his duties by an attack of gout, complicated with an inflammatory condition of the nervous system, and he died on the morning of the 1st inst. at his residence in Norfolk Square, the immediate cause of death being, it is supposed, determination of gout to the heart. He leaves a widow to mourn his loss, and in her grief she has many deep sympathisers, for few men ever had a larger number of sincere friends among those whom he admitted to his acquaintance than Dr Alexander. "
Shortly after his decease it was resolved by the good folks of Prestonpans to do honour to the memory of this " son " of the village. To this end a public meeting was held on February 12th 1861, with the view of erecting in his native place a monument to the memory of the late Thomas Alexander, C. B., Director-General of the Medical Department of the British Army.
Sir George Grant Suttie, presiding, said the object of the meeting was, in his opinion, a most proper and a laudable one. He believed many gentlemen present had had the honour of being personally known to the late Mr Alexander, and were more or less acquainted with his history. The high character held by Mr Alexander might, in some sense, be considered public property, as he had certainly conferred great benefits on our suffering soldiers, at times when they most needed it. He felt an anxious interest in the proposal to commemorate the memory of a man who, a native of Prestonpans, had raised himself to the high position which he had ultimately held in the service of his country, solely by his own exertions.
Letters apologising for absence, and of sympathy with the object of the meeting, were read from Professor Ferguson, London, Dr M'Lagan, Berwick-on-Tweed, and others. Mr J. F. Hislop moved, " That this meeting deeply regrets the loss the country has sustained by the death of Thomas Alexander, C. B., Director-General of the Army Medical Department, in which, as well as in previous appointments, he rendered invaluable services; and appreciating also the warm interest he evinced for the welfare of the people of his native place, desire to testify their high sense of his merits and character by erecting a suitable monument to his memory. " Mr H. F. Cadell, Cockenzie, seconded the resolution. Dr Scott, Musselburgh, proposed a committee, and Mr James Mellis, Prestonpans, seconded.
It was altogether a most successful gathering. Towards the close of the meeting a subscription sheet was tabled, and this was at once headed by the chairman, Sir George Grant Suttie, with the sum of £20, and in a few minutes afterwards the sheet showed a total of £70. Subscriptions came in fast, and the result was the very handsome and finely-cut stone statue which stands within the enclosure towards the east end of the village, directly beneath the walls of the weatherbeaten church. The
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