Stoker 1st Class Alexander McQuade was born in Belfast, the son of William and Martha McQuade (née McClure). His parents married on the 11th of July 1861 in Seapatrick, County Down, Ireland. According to his marriage record Alexander was born in 1864 but his service record states his date of birth as the 18th of October 1871.
Alexander married Anne Jane Rainey on the 27th of December 1891 at St Anne’s church, Belfast. At the time they married he was working as a labourer and Anne was a mill worker.
They had one child Thomas, born in Belfast on the 2nd of August 1894. The family was living at 19 Weir Street, Belfast and Alexander was still labouring.
The caption under his photograph in the Larne Times on the 17th of February 1917 tells us that Alexander had 22 years service when he died on the Laurentic. He had signed up in September 1894, initially for 12 years service, and was posted to Vivid II, the shore base at Devonport, until December 1895. He joined the crew of HMS Magnificant, second flagship of the Channel Fleet, in January 1896, where he remained till June 1898. He saw service on a large number of ships before joining the Laurentic.
In the 1901 census Anne Jane is with her parents and five siblings at 49 Snugville, Shankhill, Belfast. Her son Thomas is also with her but Alexander must have been at sea.
At the time the census was taken in 1911 Anne Jane was living with her sister Rebecca Kilpatrick and family and her son Thomas, at 14 Wimbledon Street, Shankill, Belfast. Thomas was an apprentice fitter. The census confirms that she was married for 19 years and had two children but only one was still living. Again Alexander is away from home.
Alexander’ body was never recovered. He is remembered on the Plymouth Naval Memorial. His widow Anne Jane died six years later.