William Melville Alexander

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William Melville Alexander
Nickname(s) Mel
Born 8 November 1897
Toronto, Ontario
Died 4 October 1988 (aged 91)
Allegiance  United Kingdom[1]
Service/branch Royal Naval Air Service
Royal Air Force
Years of service 1916-?
Rank Captain
Unit No. 10 Squadron RNAS/No. 210 Squadron RAF
Battles/wars First World War
Awards Distinguished Service Cross

William Melville Alexander DSC (8 November 1897 – 4 October 1988) was a Canadian First World War flying ace, officially credited with 22 victories.[2]

Involvement in World War I

Alexander joined the RNAS in 1916 and served with 3 Wing in France from early 1917, flying Sopwith 1½ Strutter aircraft. When 3 Wing disbanded in April 1917, Alexander was posted to the newly formed 10(N) Squadron, which was flying Sopwith Triplane aircraft. Alexander was in the notable Canadian Ace Raymond Collishaw's 'Black Flight'.[3] The unit converted to Sopwith Camels, in which Alexander continued to achieve successes in actions against enemy aircraft, becoming a flight commander. He completed four hundred and sixty-five hours of war-time flying and returned to Home Establishment in May 1918.[4]

His war time tally consisted of 5 aircraft destroyed, and 17 'out of control' victories, one of which was shared with other pilots.[5]

Text of citations

Distinguished Service Cross

"Flt. Lieut. (Act. Flt. Cdr.) William Melville Alexander. R.N.A.S.

On 16 August 1917, he attacked at about 3,000 feet two hostile scouts, one of which, after a short combat, fell completely out of control.

On 20 August 1917, while returning from patrol, he observed three enemy scouts. These he pursued until they turned to fight. One of the scouts he shot down completely out of control, and the remaining two dived away.

On 21 August 1917, while on an offensive patrol, he attacked and drove down completely out of control an enemy scout, which was attacking another member of his patrol.

Flt. Lieut. Alexander has at all times shown the greatest bravery and determination."



  1. Canadian airmen were required to complete an Attestation Paper in which they declared an oath of allegiance to King George the Fifth and agreed to serve in any arm of the service for the duration of the war between Great Britain and Germany. aerodrome.com
  2. http://www.theaerodrome.com
  3. Shores, C., Franks, N., Guest, R. Above the Trenches. Grub Street, 1990. p.50 ISBN 0-948817-19-4
  4. Shores, C. etc p.50
  5. Above the Trenches, Shores 1990, page 50


"WWI Aces of Canada". www.theaerodrome.com. Retrieved 14 June 2008.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>