Alexander Caplen King

Date of birth: 1893
Place of birth: Southampton
Regiment: Royal Garrison Artillery
Battalion: “G” Anti-Aircraft Battery
Rank / Service No: Gunner, 353284
Died: 10th December 1918, aged 25 years
Buried: Charleroi Communal Cemetery, Belgium (O.2)


Alexander was the oldest of 3 siblings born to Alfred Alexander and Emily Florence King (nee Caplen), who married in Southampton in 1891.


Alfred, an engraver at the Ordnance Survey, was born in Islington on 12 February 1867 and he died in Southampton in 1940.

Emily was born in the city on 24 July 1866 and she passed away in 1951.



Alexander Caplen 

Gladys Ada   b. 4 July 1898 Southampton   d. 1980 Southampton   Married Ernest A. Payne in Southampton in 1925.

Doris Florence   b. 12 January 1901 Southampton   d. 1984 Winchester



Very little is known about Alexander, a shipping clerk, and his military career.


It is assumed that he spent his war in Belgian Flanders, as a member of an anti-aircraft battery.

The anti-aircraft guns were singularly unsuccessful at shooting down enemy airplanes, despite new and more powerful models being rushed out frequently.


Enemy aircraft continued to evolve at the same time, meaning they could fly higher and higher. For the guns to be effective, they needed to fire higher and higher !


It is known that Alexander died from flu, which was endemic in the latter stages of the war in France and Belgium.


His headstone reads: “Fondly we loved him, he is dear to us still, ever in our thoughts.”



Researcher: Mark Heritage
Published: 6th October 2016


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