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Alexander, known as Sandy, was born in 1899, the son of Donald MacAskill and Annie Morrison of Ferry. He started attending Berneray School in 1906. Like his two older brothers he was a piper.
At the end of the Great War Sandy was due to return to the Western Isles on the Iolaire. Instead he went for a drink, missing embarkation and the subsequent loss of the ship.
In Glasgow in 1928 he married Lexy MacKillop of Càrn House and 6 Lochportain, with whom he was to have six children. They lived in Lochportain for a short time after their marriage, later returning to Glasgow.
Sandy later acquired a house at Rhuvanish, next to Càrn House, to which the family moved.