Commander Alfred Henry ALSTON R N 
- Born: 7 Oct 1829, Hadleigh SFK
- Christened: 8 Oct 1829, Hadleigh SFK
- Marriage: Jessie Rosalie GILMORE  on 23 Feb 1865 in Ramsgate KEN
- Died: 22 Jan 1874, Sandgate Cheriton Folkstone KEN aged 44
Cause of his death was softening of the brain over one month.
Alfred had a distinguished career in the Navy retiring to take an active role in the Penal system and rehabilitation of offenders.
Alfred's primary service record (Pg 168) shows he joined the Navy as Mate on the Prince Regent on 29 November 1851, he also appears to have been acting Gunnery Officer. He was promoted to Lieut on the Winchester 1854/55 serving with distinction in action in China. A second record of his service (pg 26) shows him on the Bellasta (?) "6 Jan 1857 guzotted (sic) for attack on the Defences of Canton and also for service in boats against WAR 3 Aug 1859 - 30 Sep 1859 "Excellent"
His record continues with his service in 1860 on the St George he is noted for gunnery duties in the assault on Canton, when he qualified as a Gunnery Officer, and was promoted to Commander, 15 December 1863..
A third page (Pg 402) of Alfred's Navy record records him as a Commander in the Coast Guard from 1865 to 1866. At that point he had served almost 11 years in the Navy.
He retired (Non Service) 1 Nov 1871
A further calculation on page 402 shows his total service in the Royal Navy, including 6 yrs on half pay, as almost 20 years and calculates his retired pay at L220 per annum.
Her Majesty's ship North Star, Beechey Island.
7 September 1852.
This article is a report to the Admiralty, by Captain Pullen of the North Star concerning the search for Captain Sir John Franklin lost in an ill-fated north-west passage expedition in 1845.
Alfred is recorded as the mate on North Star.
Ipswich Journal 27 November 1852.
Initially a depot ship at Beechey island, in the Canadian Arctic, North Star took the crews off the other vessels home when they all became trapped in the ice
This document is refered to by the Rev George Alston in his correspondance with his Solicitor Frederick Hand  in his dispute with the Trustees his half brother Samuel Alston and the Fenn brothers.
Power of Attorney to Receive a Share of Stock and to Sign Release to Trustees.
Dated 1 May 1857
To all to whom these presents shall come Alfred Henry Alston a Lieutenant of her Majesty's Ship Sybille now in China Sends Greeting. Whereas by an indenture bearing date the 26th day of April 1850 made between Anne Alston of Nayland in the County of Suffolk widow of the one part and Samuel Alston of Nayland aforesaid Attorney Thomas Harrold Fenn also of Nayland surgeon and Robert Liveing Fenn of the National Debt Office in London of the other part. After reciting that the said Anne Alston being desirous of providing for her son-in-law the Rev George Alston Clerk and his four children namely Alfred Edward Waldon and William after his decease had transferred into the joint names of the said Samuel Alston Thomas Harrold Fenn and Robert Liveing Fenn the sum of 3801 pounds 13 shillings and 6 pence stock three pounds per cent per annum Consolidated annuities upon the trusts thereinafter declared. It is witnefsed that in pursuance thereof it was hereby declared that the said Samuel Alston Thomas Harrold Fenn and Robert Liveing Fenn and the survivors and survivor of them and his executors and administrators should stand pofsefsed of the said stock. In trust for the said Anne Alston during her life and after her decease upon trust to pay the dividends thereof to the said George Alston during his life and after his decease upon trust to pay one fourth part of the said stock on trust monies to each of the four sons of the said George Alston when and as they should respectfully attain the age of 24 years with benefit of survivorship and whereas the said Waldon one of the said four sons of the said George Alston departed this life in the year 1853 in the lifetime of the said Anne Alston an infant under the age of 21 years and whereas the said Anne Alston departed this life in the month of February 1856 and whereas the said Alfred Henry Alston Edward Graham Alston and William Evelyn Alston in the said indenture called Alfred Edward and William Alston respectively have all attained their respective ages of 21 years and whereas the said trustees have in pursuance of the Act of Parliament passed in the 16th and 17th years of her present Majesty entitled "An Act for granting to her Majesty Duties on Succession to property and for altering certain provisions of the Acts charging duties on Legacies and Shares of personal Estate paid to the Commissioners the Succession Duty payable upon the said sum of 3801 pounds 13 shillings and sixpence three pounds percent Consolidated bank annuity and on the dividends accrued thereon since the decease of the said Anne Alston amounting to the sum of 364 pounds and for that purpose have sold out a portion of such stock amounting to the sum of 336 pounds nine shillings and four pence whereby the said sum of 3801 pounds 13 shillings and sixpence stock have been reduced to the sum of 3465 pounds four shillings and two pence which is the sum now standing in the names of the said trustees and whereas the said George Alston Alfred Henry Alston Edward Graham Alston and William Evelyn Alston have agreed among themselves at once to divide the capital sum of 3465 pounds four shillings and 10 pence so standing in the names of the said trustees as aforesaid in the manner of following namely one moiety thereof to be paid or transferred to the said George Alston and the remaining moiety thereof to be divided into three equal parts and one of such three equal parts to be paid or transferred to each of the of the said Alfred Henry Alston Edward Graham Alston and William Evelyn Alston as he the said Alfred Henry Alston doth hereby admit and acknowledge and they have accordingly requested the said trustees to make such division as aforesaid and the said trustees have agreed so to do upon having a Release executed by each of them respectively Now Know Ye that as well for settling and adjusting all accounts now depending between the said parties relative to the execution of the trusts of the said Indenture as for receiving to the use of the said Alfred Henry Alston the balance which upon the final settlement shall appear to be due to the said Alfred Henry Alston as his agreed Share of the said sum of 3465 pounds four shillings and two pence three pounds percent Consolidated stock and also for releasing and discharging the said trustees He the said Alfred Henry Alston had made ordained constituted and appointed and by these presents Doth make ordain constitute and appoint and in his place and stead put the Rev George Alston of Studland in the county of Dorset Clerk his true and lawful Attorney for him and in his name and to his use to settle and adjust with the said Trustees all and every Accounts and account of all monies by them paid and disbursed in manner aforsaid and in and about the execution of the trusts of the said Indenture And also for him and in his name to ask demand recover and receive of and from the said Trustees all such balance as upon such settlement of the said Accounts shall appear to be justly due and owing or belonging to the said Alfred Henry Alston as his agreed share of the said stock or trust money and according to the proportions hereinbefore mentioned or for him and in his name and to his use to accept a transfer of such balance or capital sum in the proper book or books kept for that purpose at the Bank of England and on receipt of such balance or acceptance of such transfer for him the said Alfred Henry Alston or in his the said George Alston's own name as Attorney for the said Alfred Henry Alston receipts or other proper and good discharges releases and acquittancess in the law to the said Trustees to make seal and execute and give when tended to him for that purpose so as that the said Trustees may be as effectively and finally released and discharged of from and against all future claims or demands by or through the said Alfred Henry Alston or any person or persons claiming or to claim by from under or on account of all his said equal one third part or share and interest of and in the said capital sum of 3801 pounds 13 shillings and sixpence so transferred by the said Anne Alston in trust as aforesaid to which he would have become entitled under the hereinbefore recited Indenture upon the decease of the said George Alston as if the said Alfred Henry Alston were at the same time present and executed the same And Generally for him and in his name to do or cause to be done all other lawful acts deeds matters and things which shall or may be requisite to be down in and about the premises and hereby ratifying allowing and confirming whatsoever his Attorney shall lawfully do all cause to be down in and about the premises by virtue of these presents.
In witness whereof the said Alfred Henry Alston hath hereunto set his hand and seal this First day of May 1857
A H Alston
Sealed signed and delivered by the above named Alfred Henry Alston in the presence of:
E. H. Stewart Lieutenant of H.M.S. "Pique" serving in Macau Fort Canton River
A. V. Muton(?) 1st Lieut Royal Marines
THE LONDON CANAILLE
To the Editor of The Times.
Sir: In The Times of yesterday I read that the successful raid of the London "roughs" in the train of the City Militia, has been followed by a series of brutal assaults on men and women. You tell us also that attacks on the person becoming more and more common, and that there is but one way of dealing with the perpetrators of such outrages - to flog them always. Most cordially do I concur in this, and heartily do I trust that the remedy may be invariably and vigorously applied, as there can be no question as to its efficiency with the man we have to deal with in their condition of the rampant, savage brutedom.
But, when we have applied our deterrent and have diminished the frequency of these outrages, what becomes of the ruffian himself? Do we change his nature in any way? Do we make a useful creature of him? Not probably. We do drive the wild animal to seek " fresh fields and pastures new" where he tries his hand at other feats of brutality or lawlessness, and in due time crops up again, a candidate for penal servitude or hanging; having in the meantime, no doubt, according to the course of nature, begotten children to recruit the Devil's ranks, and duly swell that calendar of crime.
A step beyond flogging is therefore necessary, if we would shun the awful responsibility of leaving to the next generation and unmanageable legacy of hopeless, but now preventable, crime. We must catch up the young, we must save the homeless and destitute children who will throng to you if you will but hold up your finger in any focus of London traffic. In behalf of them the State will not interfere until they are rigidly qualified by crime for a reformatory; and on private philanthropy, now as ever, falls the burden as well as the privilege of seeking and saving the lost.; and perhaps it is best for us all that it is so. A paternal Government waits till the child has become a criminal, and then sits to work to reform, whip, or hang him. But Government perhaps, has as much as it can well do on its hands already, and so gladly leave leaves to the Christianity, humanity, and surplus energy of Englishmen the great work of saving from utter ruin 10,000 English lads in London alone.
These children are very much what we choose to make them. Save them, train them, and they will become a source of strength and a blessing to the country. Leave them alone, and they must become a curse to it. In proof of this societies training ship Chichester at Greenhithe, is the most striking demonstration. She has only been six months in operation and has now on board 100 of as active, well behaved, and docile lads as could anywhere be seen together, and who, but a few months ago, were turning
"Catharine wheels" cadging for a livelihood, graduating for a life of crime and misery.
Straightened for want of funds, 100 can only be received on board, while the 9900 on the streets are being silently absorbed into the "canaille of London, the nonhuman or half human class" recently described by Carlyle as being more " extensive and miscellaneous, more dismal and disgusting, then even we seem to think of"
Fearing to trespass further on your space,
I am, Sir, yours faithfully,
A H Alston - June 25.
The Times 27 Jun 1867 pg 10 col D
To The Editor of The Times.
Sir: Permit me to correct a mistake in the letter of "JM" appealing in The Times of today for help to purchase a small craft, of 20 tonnes or so, as a sailing tender to this ship. For "Chichester moored at Erith" read " Greenhithe"
a proof of how much more valuable and thoroughly trained our lads would be if we could but give them some knocking about under sail before sending them away to sea, is supplied by a letter which I have just received from two boys who sailed a fortnight ago in a 1000 ton ship, an extract from which may interest our numerous supporters among your readers. It says: "I think the ship's husband will give you a good account of us, for I heard our second mate tell him we were the best young fellows on board, and I can assure you we intend to remain such"
Ten months ago the boys who write that letter were "Arabs" on the London streets, without home or parents; and, in corroboration of your correspondence appeal, though they now only get 1L a month as ship's boys, they would, had they been able to take the helm, have received 2L a month with the rating of "ordinary seaman" in the ship they now are sailing in; a still further step than that which they have already achieved in the upward march of an honourable career.
I am, Sir, yours faithfully,
A H Alston Commander R.N.
Training ship Chichester, Greenhithe, September 10.
The Times 11 Sep 1867 pg 4 col D
DRUNKENESS AND CRIME
To The Editor of The Times
Sir, I beg to afford for publication if you think fit a noteworthy communication from Mr A. H. Alston, Governor of the County Prison in Usk Monmouthshire.
Thos Hughes. Esq M.P.
The Time's 19 Jul 1873 pg 6 col F
County Prison, Usk, Monmouthshire.
July 11, 1873
Sir, My occupation leads me to look into the causes of crime and I find:-
1 That with the exception of the merest fraction of it, crime is the product and monopoly of the working classes.
2 That, while the drink is the direct cause of upwards of one half of it, a still greater proportion (running into the drink half) is due to the contaminating influence of beer shop companions acting and reacting upon one another. Men of course, must and will have some social enjoyment after work hours; but in this populous country, thronged with iron and coal workers, I can hear are of no place where a workingmen can enjoy himself like a Christian.
I went to Newport last week and saw the foreman of a large work with reference to getting up a workmen's club. He said the men would never take to it. For that opinion I was prepared; but I have a faint surmise that workingmen's clubs have been established somewhere on the principle of gentlemen's clubs, and, I should hope, with bowling alleys and some facilities for outdoor amusements in addition; but I know not where it to learn about them.
I propose drawing up some facts and statistics, if I can get them, to circulate among the Newport workmen, and to endeavour to get them to meet me and discuss the proposal of starting one. Thinking that Mr Kingsley might be able to tell if and where such clubs were in existence, I wrote to ask him, but he replies that he knows little, but tells me to write to you, and say that he wished me to do so: and this is my apology for troubling you by asking if you can oblige me by putting me in the way of obtaining the experience of others in the formation, and working of workingmen's clubs.
Pray do not be at the trouble of responding otherwise than briefly and allow me to remain.
Sir, your very own obedient servant
A H Alston Governor.
The Late Captain Alfred Henry Alston R.N.
The late Commander Alfred Henry Alston R.N. was during his life well known in the Navy as an earnest Christian man, and, at the same time, as one of the bravest of the brave. And this from his earliest entry into the service that he loved so well, when he dared the sneers of his companions by kneeling at his chest morning and evening at private devotion, and again he showed the spirit that ruled him by holding Bible classes in his cabin for the lads on board, when he became a Lieutenant.
Indeed, all the time that he was in the Navy, he was known as one who in all, and through all, trusted in God, and his sense of duty was almost his chief characteristic, as to serve his God and his Queen truly and well, and at all cost, was his chief ambition.
Many years ago, one of his messmates, now a distinguished officer, said, - "We were always ready to follow Alston anywhere," such was their esteem for him and their confidence in him.
In 1852 the late Commander Alston RN volunteered and was accepted for the Arctic Expedition in search of Sir John Franklin.
He saw much service in China and performed there an act of as great bravery and readiness for self-sacrifice as could be well performed, was instrumental in the capture of the celebrated Commissioner Yeh.
It was in 1852 at the taking of Canton. The Naval Brigade had fought its way to the Chinese General's house, which was surrounded by high walls with massive gates. Men were despatched for ladders, and beams to use as battering rams.
Every moment was valuable for Yeh was known to be inside the building and delay might allow him to escape.
Captain Alston, then a midshipman, saw that if he could squeeze himself through the opening under the great gate he might open the gate to the attacking force. The fort was commanded by Tartan troops. He felt that he might be killed even before he could rise from the ground; but he did not hesitate. He crawled with difficulty, under the gate,and opened it, the troops had fled the moment before.
He rushed after the flying Chinese and overtook two Mandarins. One tapping himself on the chest, said "Me Yeh! Me Yeh!" Captain Alston seized him, making a snatch at the other, but only succeeding in securing the feather from his cap, but he was immediately captured by the Captain of the Brigade, who rushed in first through the open gate.
The feather thus taken from Yeh's cap was some years after presented to the Queen by Captain Alston's widow, and accepted by Her Majesty; and surely few relics among the Royal treasures can bear witness of a more calmly heroic deed than that here related.
From 1852 until 1864 he was almost constantly in active service, and from his well-known character was selected as Naval Instructor to Prince Alfred when His Royal Highness was aboard the "St.George". Always anxious to live out his life in the best way he could for the benefit of his fellow creatures, his attention was drawn to the question of the training and reformation of outcast lads, and with the permission of the Admiralty, he took command of the training ships "Chichester" and "Cumberland" respectively. He devoted himself with a most ernest spirit to this work and was much blessed in its results.
As an instance of his readiness for self-devotion. One winter's day a heavy gale was blowing, and a swift tide was running down the Thames. A boy fell overboard. The Captain plunged at once from the poop, and swam his hardest after the boy, who was being swept away by the fierce tide. He reached him, grasped at him, but at that moment the boy sank and was lost, and the Captain himself sinking each moment lower in the water from the weight of his winter clothing was only saved at the last moment. When it was suggested that application should be made to the Humane Society for a medal in token of his gallant action, he answered, "certainly not! If a boy falls over board every day, I shall go after him; I shall not receive a medal for simply doing my duty."
Captain Alston then he became interested in the question of the reclamation of criminals, and how far the time of a criminal's imprisonment might be made a time of reformation of character.
He obtained the Governorship of the Monmouthshire County Prison at Usk, and there devoted himself all too earnestly to his hopeful but most trying work. He made it a principle to seek that no prisoner who came under his charge should leave without being the better for his personal influence. At this work he laboured incessantly and beyond his strength, and was within about a year, seized with paralysis of the brain, from which he shortly died, leaving a widow and five children, a sixth being born three months after his death.
Captain Alston was the author of a very valuable manual of instruction in practical seamanship for young officers,and he also wrote a book entitled "Ready, O, Ready," giving much of his life's experience, and written with the aim especially of encouraging young men in a manly Christian life. One extract from the book will give much of the spirit and tone in which it was written: - "You, young fellows who have vowed on your knees to serve God as his leal and loyal knights, who seek to be admitted into the glorious chivalry who in heaven follow Him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean; and who have received the Holy Ghost; may you feel more and more of the awfulness of that! For the love of Christ may you keep you honour stainless, and be utterly, everlastingly faithful and true to Him. Remember too that the righteous are bold as a lion for this is not a common characteristic nowadays."
Ref: This unsourced obituary is reproduced in Alstoniana Pg.292 It origionally took the form of a two page leaflet.
Unsourced note in the Fenn family photo album; "Alfred H Alston was Mate 1852 - 54 of H.M.S. North Star (Commanded by Lieut Pullen) he was awarded the Artic Medal (which he wears in his portrait, the second medal of the two) Five ships under Sir Edward Belcher sailed in the last government Franklin Search Expedition. North Star the depot ship stayed at Beechey Island. The other four were abandoned in the ice, the crews returned to the North Star
Alston Alfred Henry of Wellington Ter, Sandgate Kent governor of HM County prison Usk Monmouthshire and retired Commander in the Royal Navy died 22 January 1874. Administration London 28 October to Jesse Rosalie Alston widow. Effects £88.11s 0d
National Probate Calendar.
Alston (Alfred Henry). Mate R.N. Letter to J. Barrow 1852. Add. 35307 <DESC0010.ASP?CollectionID=27&NStart=35307&CollectionName=Add&strHead=Add. 35307 > f. 164
Ref British Library 2007.
1. Census: England, 30 Mar 1851, St Peters Tce Stepney Tower Hamlets LND. Alfred is recorded as a son single aged 21 a Midshipman R N born Hadleigh SFK
2. Census: England, 8 Apr 1861, Navy census list. Alfred is recorded as a Lieut RN unmarried aged 21 on board HMS St George
3. Death Certificate, 22 Jan 1874, Sandgate Cheriton Folkstone KEN. Alfred is recorded as a Commander R.N. retired, aged 44 - certificate on file
Alfred married Jessie Rosalie GILMORE  [MRIN: 491], daughter of Capt John GILMORE R N , on 23 Feb 1865 in Ramsgate KEN. (Jessie Rosalie GILMORE  was born about 1837 in Middlesex, died on 17 Dec 1923 in Eastbourne SSX and was buried in Eastbourne, Ocklynge Cemetery.)