Over The Bar

Douglas Alexander

1st January 1924 ~ 9th February 2012

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From Tony Cude

We are here today to farewell Douglas Alexander and to celebrate his life,  But who was Douglas Alexander?

He was a man of many coats -  To his family he was a beloved Husband, Father and Grandfather. To others, he was a friend, work mate or colleague, And to those of us who served as Marines, he was our Oppo.

A strange word – that! Oppo.

Some of you will never have heard of it,  it certainly in not in any dictionary, so what does it mean, this strange word.

An “Oppo” is another Marine - one who shares with you, not just the horrors of war, the water filled slit trench,  a  frozen bivouac but also the joys of a run ashore, half your tot and your last remaining cigarette,  he is the one who watches your back - as you cover his.

Time, distance and the needs of the service can and does separate Oppo's, some to again meet at a later time and in other places, others never to meet again.

But one thing is certain and that is you never, ever, forget an Oppo, and so it is with Douglas Alexander.

For when ever those of us who are left, raise a  glass to our departed comrades, standing with that honoured host, will be  Dougie Alexander - our “Oppo”.


Po/x 110710 Marine Douglas Alexander


Douglas was born in Heptonstall, West Yorkshire, England on 1st January 1924 and spent most of his life there until April 1942 when he decided to volunteer for the Royal Marines.  After his initial training he volunteered to join 46 Commando RM. Two days after the D Day Landings he was sent as a reinforcement, where whilst making a dawn advance, his best mate was killed alongside him. Later he was made a Military Policeman and given a pistol and a jeep, which broke down and Douglas was returned home to await demob in 1946.

It was at a dance at the Co-Op Hall in Hebden Bridge that he met the love of his life, Irene Oldham and they were married on 1st January 1945, he was 19 and she 16.  They had two sons, Douglas and Stephen.

In 1954 they migrated aboard the ‘SS Georgic’ and arrived in Sydney where their daughter Susan was born.

Sadly, on 25th December 1965, Stephen was killed in a car accident and in 2005 he lost his beloved wife Irene.  Most of his life he worked as a driver on cranes and busses.

Douglas was a bit of a character, which got him into a fair bit of trouble now and then.

Even as a small boy he was made to stand behind the blackboard at school because he persisted in tickling the knee of the girl sitting next to him.

At the beginning of his RM service he did not seem to see eye to eye with DLs and other instructors, but like all of us he soon came into line.

I was proud to call him my oppo.

Douglas was laid to rest on 25th February 2012 at the Hemmant Cemetery, surrounded by his family and friends from the RMAQ

From Tom Baker – RMAQ #160       

RIP - Douglas Alexander