In 1942 Alexander was called
into the service and underwent basic training in Chatham and advanced
training in Listowel. He achieved the rank of Corporal early in his
army career. Cpl. Alexander was posted in several locations across
Canada and in New York.
He was disappointed that he and a fellow African Canadian soldier
were removed from a troop assigned to duty in the Aleutian Islands
the participation of American soldiers who served in racially segregated
In addition to regular duty he also volunteered for duty at the
Suffield base in Alberta which involved being the subject of experimentation
on the effects of mustard gas. He bears a small scar from this
experience. The Canadian government began providing compensation
to the volunteers injured in this testing.
Cpl. Alexander has many dramatic and often humorous tales to tell
of his time in the armed forces. Amongst these are stories of having
guarded German prisoners of war being transported on trains to
a remote location in Northern Ontario. He remembers that they posed
an unlikely flight risk and seemed to be relieved that the war
was over for them.
Beginning in September of 1944 he served in England, Scotland,
Italy, France, Belgium and finally Germany as part of the occupation.
He recalls the characteristic ‘stiff upper lip’ of
the British displayed when V2 bombs and rockets nearby disrupted
a Christmas service at Westminster Abbey he was told by an Englishman
that “it was just another Christmas present from the Germans.”
On August 19th, the end of the war in Japan was declared, and
he was returned to Aldershot, England to await his turn to be reunited
with his family. Following his time in the armed forces he returned
to his position with the Ford Motor Company in Windsor. He later
went into business for himself. Cpl. Alexander is retired and continues
to reside in Windsor.