LIVINGSTONE, Alexander Reuel
(Service number 12553)
|Aliases||Name sometimes given as Alexander Renel LIVINGSTONEl. Known as Ruel.|
|First Rank||Second Lieutenant||Last Rank||Lieutenant|
|Date||25 September 1893||Place of Birth||Timaru|
|Date||10 July 1915||Age||21 years|
|Address at Enlistment||436 Durham, St, Christchurch. Of Hawkes Bay.|
|Previous Military Experience||Canterbury Coastal Defence. C.Y.C. (Canterbury Yeomanry Cavalry)|
|Next of Kin||Thos LIVINGSTONE (father), 436 Durham Street, Christchurch. In 1922 of 62 Gloucester Street, Christchurch|
|Medical Information||Height 5 feet 10½ inches. Weight 172 lbs. Chest 34-38¼ inches. Complexion fresh. Eyes brown. Hair brown. Sight, hearing and colour vision all normal. Limbs and chest well formed. Full and perfect movement of all joints. Heart and lungs normal. Teeth - pass but some stumps require extraction. Free from hernia, varicose veins, haemorrhoids, inveterate or contagious skin disease. Slight varicocele on left. Vaccinated. Good bodily and mental health. No slight defects. Pigmented mole on left flank. Two moles on front of left thigh.|
|Served with||NZ Armed Forces||Served in||Army|
|Body on Embarkation||New Zealand Expeditionary Force|
|Unit, Squadron, or Ship||New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade|
|Date||6 May 1916|
|Transport||Mokoia or Navua|
|Embarked From||Wellington||Destination||Suez, Egypt|
|Other Units Served With|
|Last Unit Served With|
|Service Medals||British War Medal; Victory Medal|
Award Circumstances and Date
Prisoner of War Information
|Date of Capture|
|Where Captured and by Whom|
|Actions Prior to Capture|
|PoW Serial Number|
Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses
On 19 July 1917 he was wounded in buttock by a bomb from a tank & admitted to hospital in Egypt.
|Date||25 November 1917||Age||22 years|
|Place of Death||Palestine|
|Cause||Killed in action|
|Notices||Star, 8 December 1917; Sun, 8 December 1917; Press, 10 December 1917|
|Memorial or Cemetery||Jerusalem Memorial, Jerusalem War Cemetery, Israel|
|Memorial Reference||Panel 1.|
|New Zealand Memorials|
Alexander Reuel Livingstone, known as Ruel, was born on 25 September 1893 at Timaru, the fifth surviving son of Thomas and Mary Ann (née Potts) Livingstone. Thomas and Mary Ann were married in 1874 in Ireland and their first child was born in 1875 in New Zealand. Ruel was educated at Timaru Main (albeit briefly), Christchurch Normal, High Street Dunedin and West Christchurch schools, then Lyttelton District High School and a year at Christchurch Boys' High School. As his father Thomas was a police sergeant and later detective, the family was often on the move. He was stationed at the Timaru Police Station from November 1886 until about 1900. Reuel Livingstone, a schoolboy, was fined 5 shillings in 1910 at Christchurch, for riding a bicycle at night without a light.
At the time of enlisting – 10 July 1915 - Ruel was a farmer, of Hawke’s Bay, and single. After a short time working in Christchurch he had gone farming. He stood at 5 feet 10½ inches tall, weighed 172 lbs, and was in good condition, apart from needing to have some teeth stumps extracted and having slight varicocele. He nominated his father as next-of-kin, and gave his parents’ address for last address. He had already served with Canterbury Coastal Defence; and he was a troop leader in the C.Y.C (Canterbury Yeomanry Cavalry), sometimes acting as second in command of the Canterbury Mounted Regiment. There he was regarded as a very capable and efficient officer. After enlisting Alexander was drafted into the Non-Commissioned Officers Class. In time he was to receive his commission as a second-lieutenant. Non-Commissioned Officer A. R. Livingstone, of the Eighth Reinforcements, Mounted Rifles, C Squadron, was temporarily appointed Sergeant in August 1915. Two months later, while encamped at Tauherenikau, the Eighth Mounteds drew their horses and Q.M.S. A. R. Livingstone was appointed regimental quartermaster-sergeant with Headquarters Staff. Three weeks afterwards on being appointed second lieutenant on probation he was transferred to later reinforcements – Eleventh Reinforcements, Mounted Rifles. At Featherston Camp in February 1916 he was transferred from D Squadron, 11th, to 2nd Reserve Squadron. This was followed by a posting to the Twelfth Mounted Rifles.
A notice in the New Zealand Gazette No 54 of 4th May 1916 signalled the approval of the appointment of Second Lieutenant Alexander Reuel Livingstone to the New Zealand Military Forces. In March 1916, at Featherston, A. R. Livingstone had passed and obtained marks required in special examinations for first appointment to a commission. He embarked from Wellington on 6 May 1916 as a Second Lieutenant with the Twelfth Reinforcements, New Zealand Rifle Brigade, destined for Suez, Egypt. After his arrival in Egypt (22 June 1916), he was posted to the Canterbury Mounted Rifles and was involved in every engagement there. As of 7 February 1917, on the Field of Honour, he was again promoted – this time to the rank of lieutenant. For two and a half weeks in June 1917 he was detached to the School of Instruction. On 19 July 1917 Lieutenant A. R. Livingstone was wounded by a bomb from a Tank. He was admitted to hospital in Egypt suffering from this bomb wound to his buttock. On 14 August he left hospital and returned to his unit.
Lieutenant Alexander Reuel Livingstone was first reported wounded – a severe case, then reported missing, on 25 November 1917. Soon it was confirmed that Lieutenant Alexander Reuel Livingstone had been killed in action on 25 November 1917 in Palestine. His body having been found, a report of burial at Palestine on 21 December 1917 was made. As at December 1917 the Christchurch Boys’ High School Roll of Honour stood at 663, 94 of whom had made the supreme sacrifice, and three were missing – one of them being Reuel.
His name is inscribed on the Jerusalem Memorial, in the Jerusalem British War Cemetery, Israel. This memorial commemorates Commonwealth servicemen who died during the First World War in operations in Egypt or Palestine and who have no known grave. Perhaps Ruel was buried in the field. His Parchment Commission was delivered to his father about 20 September 1917. The plaque and scroll were sent to his father in 1921/1922, but he had died; and his medals - British War Medal and Victory Medal – were sent to his mother, as per a memo of 13 June 1919. Reuel had drawn up his will in February 1915 while living at “The Glen”, Tikokino, Hawke’s Bay. He bequeathed the whole of his estate (after payment of funeral and testamentary expenses) to his mother, the total consisting of a Life Policy to the value of £313.16s. Thomas Livingstone died late in 1920 and, with his wife and some of his family, is buried at Timaru. At school Alexander had made fame for himself as an athlete, particularly as a footballer. He was a valued forward in the Christchurch Boys' H S first fifteen; then a prominent member of the Old Boys' Football Club and the Canterbury Rowing Club. In 1914 he was one of the Rowing Club’s champion maiden pair. At the annual meeting of the Canterbury Rowing Club held on 29 September 1919, Reuel and his brother Eric were named in the club's Roll of Honour. His brother Eric Joseph Livingstone, who was in camp when Reuel was killed, was also killed in action, in 1918; another brother Robert Heaton Livingstone was wounded and invalided back to New Zealand before joining the Royal Flying Corps; and yet another, Thomas McClelland Livingstone, served with Australian forces in World War I; a fifth brother, Henry Gillies Livingstone, was stationed as adjutant to the C. Y. C., as of 1917.
On 25 April 1918, in the “Big Room” at Christchurch Boys’ High School, a memorial service was held in honour of old boys who had given their lives for their country. Appropriate hymns were sung, readings from the Old and New Testaments were given and prayers were offered before the large gathering cheered the old boys who had seen active service and listened to addresses. The headmaster said that, at the beginning of the war, few had anticipated the dark times they were to pass through. They could not, however, help but think that God would help right and justice to overcome might. He believed in the old words, “Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted.” Seven hundred old boys had served, or were serving, and 111 had laid down their lives. The names of the old boys killed in action since the previous Anzac Day were read out, then the Cadet buglers sounded the “Last Post”. Included in the lengthy list was the name of Lieutenant A. R. Livingstone. The latest copy of the Boys’ High School magazine, as at May 1918, included miniature photographs of many old boys who had given their lives for their King and country. One photograph featured A. R. Livingstone (1910). Two carved oak screens, erected in thanksgiving for victory and as a memorial to the dead soldier-members of the congregation, were unveiled in St Paul’s Presbyterian Church, Christchurch, at a special service on 18 July 1920. Present at the service were members of the Returned Soldiers’ association and of the Christchurch Caledonian and Scottish Societies. The thanksgiving screen bears an inscribed brass tablet – “This screen is erected to the Glory of God, who gave to the British Empire and Allies victory in the Great War, 1914-1919, maintaining His righteousness and enabling us to establish Liberty and Peace and uphold Justice.” The inscription on the memorial screen reads – “This screen is erected to the memory of those who went from this congregation and fell in the Great War, 1914-1919, that their heroic sacrifice to retain our heritage and vindicate our honour may never be forgotten.” Among the names of the twenty-eight dead are those of A. R. Livingstone and C. (E?) J. Livingstone. After the unveiling, the “Last Post” was played on the organ and the Pipe-Major played the “Highland Lament”. The Moderator, taking as his text St John XII, 25, preached that “the men who went to fight had won everlasting renown for themselves, and, for the people of this land, peace and abundant prosperity. They had all been touched in some degree with the spirit of Christ, and their sacrifice had borne great fruit.”
A photo of Lieut. A. R. Livingstone, Killed in Action, was printed in the Sun of 12 December 1917; and a photo of Alexander Reuel Livingstone, 12553, is published in Onward: Portraits of the NZEF, Vol. 1.
Auckland War Memorial Museum Cenotaph Database [07 May 2014]; NZ Defence Force Records (Archives NZ ref. AABK 18805 W5544 0068716) [08 May 2014], (Archives NZ ref. AABY 18805 W5568 0135946) [11 May 2014]; CWGC [07 May 2014]; NZ BDM Indexes (Department of Internal Affairs) [08 May 2014; School Admission Records (South Canterbury Branch NZSG; Canterbury Branch NZSG) ; Star, 5 October 1910, 1, 8 & 10 December 1917, 15 May 1918, Evening Post, 19 August 1915, 22 October 1915, 2 December 1915, 14 March 1916, 30 May 1916, 31 May 1917, New Zealand Times, 11 November 1915, Dominion, 7 April 1916, Timaru Herald, 3 December 1917, Press, 1 June; 1916, 25 July 1917, 1, 3 & 5 December 1917, 26 April 1918, 16 November 1918, 10 December 1917, 30 September 1919, 25 November 1920, Oamaru Mail, 27 November 1917, Sun, 1 & 8 December 1917, 12 December 1917 [x 2], 19 July 1920, Colonist, 11 December 1917 (Papers Past) [08 & 09 May 2014; 10 November 2014; 25 October 2015; 29 September 2017]; Probate record (Archives NZ/FamilySearch) [05 October 2017]; Onward: Portraits of the NZEF, Vol. 1. (held by South Canterbury Branch NZSG) [08/11/2014]
- LIVINGSTONE Alexander Reuel - newspaper clippings, 1917 (pdf, 341.9 KB updated 20-Oct-2017)
- Great War Stories - Timothy Joseph Breen - Timaru Herald 9 June 2018 (pdf, 18.8 KB updated 19-Sep-2018)
Researched and Written by
Teresa Scott, SC branch NZSG
Currently Assigned to
Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License unless otherwise stated.
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