Christison, Sir Alexander F. P., 4th Baronet


1981 ALS of the British Army officer relating  career highlights in Burma & Singapore in WW II



Type: Letter

Condition: Very good

(1893-1993) Scottish-born British Army WW I & II officer. Junior officer on Western Front in WW I, distinguished himself during WW II, commanding XV Indian Corps, under Sir William Slim’s 14th Army in the Burma Campaign. 

Educated at University College, Oxford and Officer Training Corps (OTC) cadet, named 2nd lieut. March 1914. With start of war in August, named -temporary 2nd lieut., 6th (Service) Btn, Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders in Sept., part of the 45th Brigade, 15th (Scottish) Div., left for Western Front July 1915. Wounded at Loos (awarded Military Cross), fought at The Somme and Arras. Promoted to lieutenant Feb. 1917, awarded a bar to his Military Cross in July. Promoted to captain in August, acting major 1918, 2nd-in-command of the 1/6th Btn, Seaforth Highlanders, 51st (Highland) Div. In Aug. 1919, reverted to Regular Army captain, part of the British Army of the Rhine. Attended Staff College, Camberley 1927-28 then appointed General Staff Officer at the War Office. Brigade senior staff officer, 1st Inf., 3rd Brigade 1931-33, major 1933, brevet lieut. colonel 1934, returned to Camberley as an instructor. In March 1937, transferred to the Duke of Wellington’s Regt., promoted to lieut. colonel and CO, 2nd Btn, DWR in the Punjab, North-West Frontier Province. Promoted to colonel 1938, as temporary brigadier led Quetta Brigade in India to March 1940, then Staff College, Quetta Commandant. In May 1941 Christison returned to the UK briefly as Brigadier General Staff (BGS), promoted to acting major general then General Officer Commanding (GOC) 15th (Scottish) Inf. 1941. Returned to India June 1942, permanent major-general July, acting lieut.-general November. GOC 33rd Indian Corps, Companion of the Order of the Bath Jan. 1943, temporary lieut. general Nov. 1943.

Led 15th Indian Corps in new British 14th Army, succeeding Lieut.-General Slim. XV Corps made up Southern Front of Burma Campaign in the Arakan coastal region. In Feb. 1944 2nd Arakan Offensive, defeated Japanese attempt to outflank and isolate Corps elements, 1st time a British army beat the Japanese in a land battle. XV Corps withdrew in March to assist allied defense of Imphal. In Dec., invested as Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire. In 1945, took temporary command of 14th Army, deputized for Slim as Commander, Allied Land Forces SE Asia when Slim on leave, reverted to XV Corps on his return, led them into Rangoon in May. In Sept., deputized for Lord Mountbatten to head SE Asia Command, took Japanese 7th Army and Japanese Fleet at Singapore’s surrender Sept. 3, 1945. Allied Commander in Indonesia 1946, fought pro-independence Indonesians in Surabaya. GOC-in-C of Northern Command 1946-47, GOC-in-C of Scottish Command and Edinburgh Castle Governor 1947-49, full General Aug. 1947, retired 1949.

ALS on 7 x 5 blue The Croft, Melrose (adds “Scotland”) letterhead, Dec. 1 1981,  to “Dorothy”, a collector. He mentions two highlights of his career including his 15th Army Corps inflicting “the first major defeat on land against the Japanese in Burma” and quoting Churchill as having said: “You have pricked the bubble of Japanese invincibility.” He also adds that as (acting) Allied SE Asia Commander he “took the final Japanese surrender at Singapore of all land, sea and air forces.” Nice content!

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