With his father being Edmund David – Glamorgan’s first-ever captain in 1889 – Alexander David had much to live up to on the cricketing fields of South Wales. However, he opted to follow a career in Law and played just twice for the Welsh county. He was also decorated for extreme bravery during the closing years of the Great War when, during a skirmish in the Battle of Cambrai, Alexander single-handedly extinguished an ammunition dump which had been set alight.
Alexander was educated at Arnold College as well as Keble College, Oxford, where he showed great prowess as an all-round sportsman, playing cricket, football, hockey, athletics and rugby. After graduating in Law, he began his solicitor’s training in Cardiff, besides finding time to play rugby for the town’s rugby club as well as for the cricket club.
His prowess as a free-scoring batsman and seam bowler for Cardiff, plus a few kind words in the selectors ear from his well-known father, led to Alexander’s call-up for Glamorgan in August 1911 as he played for Glamorgan against Monmouthshire and Staffordshire. In 1913 Alexander was chosen again for the Gentlemen of Glamorgan in the all-amateur match against Carmarthenshire at Llanelli, taking three wickets with his seam bowling, but scoring just 3 and 5 as Carmarthenshire completed a victory.
He focused on his legal training in 1914 before joining the Royal Field Artillery and securing a place with the 113th Brigade Ammunition Column. His role as a Second Lieutenant was to help oversee the supply of ammunition to the front line, and from 1915 he saw active service on the Western Front. By August 1917 Alexander had become an Acting Captain in the 113th Brigade and in early December, he won the Military Cross for his actions in putting out a fire at one of the brigade’s ammunition dumps which supplied material for the Battle of Cambrai.
With the German counter-attack in full swing, he knew how important it was to prevent the loss of valuable ammunition, and as his citation read “when the ammunition dump had been struck and set alight by hostile shell fire, he ordered all the men except one NCO to take over and at great personal risk left his post and extinguished the fire. His presence of mind and quick decision undoubtedly saved many casualties and prevented the fire from destroying the battery position with all its ammunition.” This was his finest hour on the Western Front, despite being involved in further skirmishes and thankfully less dramatic advances during the Hundred Days Offensive.
He duly returned to South Wales in the Autumn of 1918, and resumed his duties as a solicitor, working in Cardiff and Cowbridge between 1919 and 1923, before moving to Mid-Wales and working in legal practices in the Newtown and Welshpool area between 1923 and 1944. Indeed, shortly after his move to Mid Wales, he won a place in the Montgomeryshire hockey team and gained a place in the final Welsh trial.
DAVID, Alexander Charles Robert.
Born – Cardiff, 5 November 1889.
Died – Montgomery, 8 March 1967.
Batting and Fielding Record
Minor County Friendlies – 11 and 1/30 v Staffordshire at Cardiff Arms Park, 1911.