Alexander Seton, 5th of Mounie (of
the second family), was born in
1815, son of Alexander Seton, 4th of Mounie and Janet Ogilvy of Airlie. At the time of his succession
to his father he was a Major in the 74th Highlanders
He became Lieutenant-Colonel of the
Regiment in 1851, and was known for his gallant actions during the sinking of
the HMS Birkenhead in 1852.
1096 Sergeant David Andrews " S ", later
Staff Sgt Major of the 60th KRRC (now the Royal Greenjackets),
wrote a letter to Mr. David Seton, brother of Colonel Alexander
Seton, the senior Army Officer on board the vessel, describing the
gallantry displayed by Colonel Seton.
"Lt Colonel Alexander Seton
of Mounie, Aberdeenshire. Senior Army Officer aboard ship.
Was on his way to command the 74th of Foot in The 8th Frontier War
1846-1858. A fine Officer who controlled the men aboard the ship
so that the women and the children would get away first, he also
delayed the men from swimming for their lives, until the life
boats had rowed well away from the side of the ship.
Lieutenant-Colonel Seton, whose
high-mindedness, self-possession, and calm determination inspired
all on board, was son and heir of the late Alexander Seton, Esq.
of Mounie, Aberdeenshire, and represented the Mounie branch of the
old and eminent Scottish house of Pitmedden. His death was
undoubtedly a great loss to the British army, as all who knew him
agree in stating that he was a man of high ability and varied
attainments; he was distinguished both as a mathematician and a
linguist. Lord Aberdare (formerly the Right Honourable H.
Bruce) speaks of Colonel Seton, from personal knowledge, as "one
of the most gifted and accomplished men in the British army."
The original Thomas Hemy
picture of the Birkenhead shows Colonel Seton drawing up his
Officers and Men on deck to the sound of a Drummer, with the women
and children being assembled on the deck prior to being loaded
into a lifeboat. There is a smaller copy of this picture in
the Williamson Art Gallery and Museum in Birkenhead. He died unmarried
and the Estate passed to his brother, David Seton, 6th of Mounie.