Private Alexander White was born in Glasgow, Scotland, on January 10, 1886. Prior to immigrating to Canada he served eighteen months with the British Army in the 4th Scottish Rifles.
White enlisted at Valcartier Camp, Québec, in September of 1914 and sailed to England as part of the First Contingent of the Canadian Expeditionary Force in October of that year aboard the S.S. Lapland. From England he proceeded to France with the 5th Battalion and from there to Ypres, Belgium. White was part of the Second Battle of Ypres during the first gas attack of the war. As a result of a head wound and the effects of gas, White was sent to hospital in England. He returned to Canada in October, 1915, and was demobilized as medically unfit for further service due to his injuries.
The collection consists of the diary White kept from February to May of 1915. Of particular note is his detailed account as a participant in the Second Battle of Ypres, written during the battle between April 22nd and 25th.
Pte. Alexander White’s service record (Serv/Reg# 13693) can be viewed/downloaded in pdf format through Library and Archives Canada.
[Editor’s note: The dates in the above description have been taken from White’s military service record and in some cases may conflict with those found in his diary.]