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Alexander was the son of William MacMillan and Catherine Shaw of 22 Borve (Sandpoint). Born in 1903, he attended Berneray School from 1909. He married Christina MacKinnon of Scadabay, Harris, with whom he was to have four children.
Croft 22 passed to Alexander following his father’s death in 1929. He later gave up the croft (to Norman MacAskill) in order to become a missionary for the Church of Scotland, serving at Malacleit between 1956 and 1966, and also Carinish and Amhuinnsuidhe (Harris) before retiring to 2 Deiraclete, Harris.
Donald MacKillop nicknamed him 'Alasdair of the Storm' because he never used to venture far on stormy nights. In the book Sea Names of Berneray he recalls:
'Many a night my brother and I were praying for a storm so that Alasdair would call and tell us a story from his repertoire which seemed to be endless...'
In the same book, an Angus MacKenzie recalls that:
'Alasdair was a large, middle-aged man, born and reared in Berneray, Harris. He was of the old school and a master of Gaelic and its tradition. In his youth he was a fisherman and was familiar with the fairways and skerries in this area...'