Alexander Manson was born in Dalcharn,Tongue in November 1885, the son of Angus Manson and Sophia Stewart. Angus and Sophia married in Melness in January 1885.They lived in the last house in Dalcharn. The family moved before the war to live in Edinburgh. In the 1911 census they are living in Drumdyan Street Edinburgh. Alexander then emigrated to Australia.He enlisted into the Australian Army at the outbreak of the First World War, joining the 3 Battalion Australian Infantry in the 2 Brigade, 1st Australian Division. The Division was under the command of Brigadier General Harry Chauval of the 1 Light Horse Brigade.
The 1 Australian Division left Australia in November 1914 for Egypt and commenced training in Cairo in January 1915. The Australians were also to garrison Egypt against Turkish invasion or an attempt by the Turks to seize the Suez Canal.
On the 25 of April 1915, the Australian Infantry Force and the New Zealand Army Corps (A.N.Z.A.C.) landed on the Gallipoli Peninsula Turkey, at Anzac Cove. The troops faced sheer cliffs as they landed, with the attacking waves soon becoming confused and mixed up. Junior officers rallied the men and six companies eventually managed to climb out from the beachhead.
The Turks were pushed back two miles by nightfall and the Australians dug in, ready to meet the expected Turkish counterattack. The attack when it came was savage, with the Turks launching wave after wave of infantry against the A.N.Z.A.C. lines, fierce hand to hand fighting was required to hold the enemy. Turkish Generals launched attacks for three days almost non-stop but failed to penetrate the Australian lines, the cost to both sides was heavy.
In May, 42,000 Turks attacked the 12,500 defenders at Anzac Cove in a massive attack, the Australians killed thousands of their enemies in the first hour. The attack was a slaughter as by midday the Turks had lost 10,000 men, over 5,000 of them lay in no-mans lands dead or wounded.
The Australian Commanders had to rush reinforcements into the frontline trenches, some of these reinforcements actually offered to pay for a place on the parapet, some men later paid five pounds for a place in a bayonet charge. The conditions in the line were horrendous, the intense heat and flies made the conditions very unhealthy for the troops of both sides. With the number of dead and wounded that lay around a number of cease-fires had to be agreed between the opposing Generals, to clear the battlefield before the killing continued.
In August 1915,the fighting in the southern sector of Anzac Cove at Lone Pine, was some of the worst seen in the Gallipoli Campaign. Six Australian Battalions lost a total of 80 officers and 2,l97 men between them, whole units were wiped out as the Australian troops attacked the heart of the Turkish lines. The Turks again put up fanatical resistance to hold on to their line as the Australians bombed their way forward in an effort to take and hold the positions on Lone Pine Ridge. (Seealso Donald Mackay A.N.Z.A.C. Tongue).
Private Alexander Manson was killed in action on Lone Pine Ridge between the 7 and 12 of August 1915, aged 30 years. His body was not found when the battlefield was cleared in 1919 and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission Cemeteries were established. Alexander's name does not appear on Tongue War Memorial or on the Roll of Honour behind the pulpit in Tongue Church, however his name is on the Roll of Honour (Number 61) in a small side room of the church. This Roll of Honour is reproduced at the end of this section.