1893 - 1970 from England

magistrate South Georgia, was born on 5 August 1893, the younger son of Sir Archibald Alison, the third baronet and Georgina, née Cobbell.

He was educated in naval colleges at Osborne and Dartmouth and entered the Royal Navy in 1911. He was appointed to the light cruiser Glasgow in 1914, promoted lieutenant shortly thereafter and saw action in the battles of Coronel and the Falkland Islands. Late in 1917 he was appointed to the light cruiser Newcastle.

417 Unveiling of memorial at Shackleton’s...

He retired from the navy at his own request with a gratuity in 1920, and was promoted to lieutenant commander on the reserve list in 1923. Alison was married in 1919 to Lilian Phoebe Phillips, the daughter of LC Phillips of South Africa - they had one daughter, Phoebe Ann.

Alison became magistrate and postmaster at South Georgia on 22 August 1927. His service as magistrate and postmaster ended on 24 November 1927.

The previous substantive magistrate had been Edward BINNIE, whose appointment ended on 1 April of that year. The post of magistrate had hitherto been a local appointment by the Falkland Islands Government, but other considerations seem to have influenced the choice of candidate on this occasion. A special memorial service was being planned at South Georgia for the Antarctic explorer Sir Ernest SHACKLETON, who had died there in January 1922. It is known that Shackleton wrote a letter from Antarctic waters aboard the Endurance to a member of the Alison family dated 3 December 1914 and this connection may have led to Frederick Alison becoming involved with the memorial service arrangements.


Ernest Shackleton's memorial service...

Against this background Alison arrived at South Georgia, remaining there a month or two before moving onwards to the Falkland Islands. There he was, somewhat exceptionally, appointed a provisional member of ExCo for a period of one month. The purpose would have been to set out and finalise the proposals for Shackleton's memorial service. These deliberations over, Alison returned to South Georgia from Port Stanley aboard the Fleurus on 20 December, accompanying Governor HODSON and other officials on a roundabout route via the South Shetland Islands. The formal ceremony took place on the 24 February 1928 when Governor Hodson unveiled the carved granite memorial erected over Shackleton's grave. Alison remained at South Georgia for only a few months longer. He was, reported the governor, 'addicted to excessive drinking' and was sent straight home with his wife and daughter on the whaler Harpon on 16 May 1928. In his absence Nelson Jones, the magistrate's clerk, took over.

He was declared bankrupt in the London Gazette on 1 April 1930.

Promoted commander on the retired list in 1933, he was recalled to the colours in October 1939 and appointed to HMS Flora, the depot ship at Invergordon.

In 1940 he was relieved of his appointment as 'incapable of carrying out his duties'. The family retired to Rye, in Sussex. Alison succeeded his brother Archibald to the title, becoming fifth Baronet in December 1967.


M/V Fleurus

Alison died on 13 January 1970: there being no male heir, the baronetcy became extinct.

Editorial comment:

Magistrates and Administrators on South Georgia:

J I WILSON 1909-1914

E B BINNIE  1914-1927

F B ALISON  1927

BARLAS  1928-1941

A I FLEURET  1942-1951

K S PIERCE-BUTLER  1951-1954

R E SPIVEY  1954-1957

J W MATTHEW  1957-1959

D J COLEMAN 1959-1969


Robert Barnes



May 2019 Existing photograph replaced by improved version
July 2019 Additional photograph added
March 2020 One additional photograph added