Surgeon Major William Evelyn ALSTON 
- Born: 29 Oct 1835, Clontarf, Dublin, Leinster, Ireland
- Christened: 21 Apr 1836, Clontarf, Dublin, Leinster, Ireland
- Marriage: Elizabeth Rouse FITZGERALD  on 5 Jan 1867 in St John Darlinghurst, N.S.W.
- Died: 19 Oct 1896, East Cliff House, Sandgate, Kent aged 60
- Buried: Oct 1896, New Cemetery Sandgate.
29th ult., at Clontarf, near Dublin, the lady of George Alston, Esq., of a son.
Ipswich Journal 7 Nov. 1835
William was educated at St. Paul's School, situated near St. Paul's Cathedral, then studied medicine at Edinburgh University.
After taking his degree he was appointed Demonstrator in Anatomy at King's College, London. On 11th October 1859, he joined the old "Army Medical Department" which preceded the Royal Army Medical Corps, as a Staff Assistant Surgeon. On 23rd November 1860, he transferred to the 70th (Surrey) Regiment of Foot and was appointed Staff Surgeon on 9th January 1863.
On 29th November 1864, he transferred to the Royal Artillery and was subsequently appointed Surgeon Major on 12th February 1875. His services abroad were:- June 1860 - March 1861 - East India March 1861 - March 1868 - New Zealand, 70th Foot; March 1868 - October 1868 - Sydney, Australia. In New Zealand he served under Lt.Gen. Sir Duncan Cameron K.C.B. and Sir Trevor Chute during the Maori wars which continued intermittently during the period 1861-1871.
During these arduous campaigns Surgeon Major Alston won the esteem of the men and officers with whom he came in contact, by his close attention to the sick and wounded, and by his kindness to them in the hospital marquees. In 1867 he was married to Elizabeth Rouse Fitzgerald, the service being conducted by the Rev. E. Hayden.
On 19th October 1868, by which time their eldest son had been born, they sailed from Sydney on the "Rifleman", a sailing man-o-war of 600tons, and at Gibraltar they changed ships and embarked with the troops on the merchant ship "London" arriving in England on 25th January 1869. Captain E.T.W.Purcell RA was in command of the troops and Surgeon Major Alston RA was in medical charge.
He was then stationed at Shorncliffe Camp, as the Principal Medical Officer, and purchased East Cliffe House, Sandgate, which remained his permanent home until his death. His next appointment was at Wigston Barracks, near Leicester, where he remained until retiring on half pay on 23rd October 1879. When retired he interested himself in local affairs in Sandgate, where he promoted the Gough Soldiers' Home.
In 1887 he was elected a Town Councilor at Folkstone, and was appointed Magistrate for the County of Kent. He died on St. Luke's Day, 18th October 1896.
The above article was given to Mrs Perrett by Peter Culverwell.
As William married Elizabeth in 1867 he must have met her while on a 'leave' to Australia from New Zealand, and one presumes she went back to NZ with him, at least until February 1868 when William Evelyn (junior) was born in Sydney.
Mary Burn tells a story of William and Elizabeth on a voyage to Britain when a mutiny broke out amongst the crew, Elizabeth was the only woman aboard.
William Evelyn Alston.
Rank: Assistant Surgeon.
Regiment: Royal Artillery.
Date of Service: 1808 - 1871.
PRO Reference:WO 76/375/185
Date:1808 - 1871
Held by:The National Archives, Kew
Medical Officer 355.345 092 page 426 is an entry number 5908 which says - William Evelyn Alston. A.S. Staff, 11 Oct 1859: 70 F. 23 Nov. 1860: Staff, 9 Jan 1863: R.A. 29 Nov. 1864. A.M.D., S., 11 Oct 1859. S.M. 12 Feb,. 1875. ret. on h.p. 23 Oct 1879. b: at Clontarf Ireland, 29 Oct 1835. M.D. d: at Sandgate, Folkestone, 19 Oct 1896.
The Genealogist Commissioned Officers. SOGNZ
PRO Ref. WO 25/394 2 - William got his Degree of M.D. at University of Edinburgh on August 1st 1858 and he got his Diploma for Surgery from the Royal College of Surgeons of London on May 3rd 1858.
It also states his Place of Residence as Studland Rectory, Wareham, Dorset. He was the Resident Physician Accoucheur for three months at the Kings College Hospital.
Cost of a Colony
To the Editor of the Times
18 December 1872. Pg 6. col F
Sir, I have just read with melancholy interest the Leading Article in The Times on Saturday on the late mortality at Sierra Leone.
My brother, the late Queen's Advocate, after holding a somewhat similar appointment for some years at Vancouver's Island, entered upon the duties of his new office a little more than a year ago. It is not for me to write his eulogy; his pure spirit and noble character won for him the esteem of all who knew him.
A widow and five children are left to mourn his early death. For the eldest of these I am endeavouring to obtain a nomination to the Blue Coat or some similar school.
Will any kindhearted Governor help me?
I have the honour to be, sir, your obedient servant,
W. E. Alston.
Shorncliffe December 15.
The Soldier's Homes.
To the Editor of the Times
Sir, Will Col Walker kindly inform me within what limits of private judgement one may be permitted to retain the title to be considered a loyal Church-man?
He charges the " old homes" with being "permeated with the private religious views of the founders" and says, "the influence they exercise is not such as can be accepted by loyal Churchmen".
This is not true of the oldest of these homes, the one founded by the late Miss Papillon 30 years ago, the committee and trustees of which communicants of the Church of England. I have a right, Sir, I think, in face of these charges, to ask our self constituted ecclesiastical Court what in its, or his, opinion were the views of our founder, a lady who spent large sums of money in rebuilding the church of this place, which are deemed unacceptable, and in what respect the teaching that is given at the home is such as cannot be accepted by loyal Churchmen.
I have the honour to be yours obediently,
W. E. Alston M. D., Surgeon Major.
Hon. Treasurer Miss Papillon Soldiers Home,
Chapel Street, Sandgate.
The Times 4 April 1890 pg10 col E.
Death Notice : Surg. Maj. W E Alston M.D., died at his residence, East Cliff House Sandgate, on Monday, in his 61st year. The eldest surviving son of the Rev G Alston of Nayland Suffolk, he was born in 1835, entered the Army Medical Service in 1859, and retired in 1879 with the Rank of Surgeon-Major.
An obituary notice in the local paper said: "Dr Alston was much attached to Sandgate. . . . . to within a few days of his death, he devoted himself to good works. Chief among these may be noted his solicitude for the highest moral and spiritual welfare of the soldier. . . . . He worked earnestly and faithfully in widening the influence of the late Miss Lucy Papillon's Soldiers' Institute ( a cousin of his; the first Soldiers' Institute of its kind in the country). Less than a month ago, although undoubtedly conscious of declining health, Dr. Alston gave an earnest address to the young soldiers who gather here on Sunday evenings. He was most attentive to the poor. It was his delight to assist them. He would supplement acts of charity with kindly advice, and also give those who desired it, the benefit of his medical skill and knowledge. He was a ripe scholar and it is said his Greek and Latin were without suspicion. A man of independent thought and holding strong views, he often crossed swords with those who held extreme views in the Church of England. The late doctor did not take things for granted, however great the human authority, but would always search for the why, the wherefore, and the inner meaning of things.
There is a poem written by J.R.A. - who was an aunt of Arthur Fawssett Alston and who is thought to be, Jessie Rosalie Alston, wife of Alfred Henry Alston (1829-1874), who was a brother of William Evelyn, which goes like this:-
Soldier and Physician, man of Christian might, Strongest most in weakness, firm advocate of right, Preacher of righteousness in thy life and word, Gentle, loving, true, imbued with Gospel light, Thy labour's done - rest thou in the Lord Thy death to us is loss, to thee tis gain. O kindly soul, man of the healing art Battling with ardour man's moral ills and pain, Blending there withal the medicine of Heaven, Using to the full the talent God had given, Prayer often on thy lips, love ever in thy heart, Endeared to high and low, but chiefly to the poor, Rest, thy work is done - thy warfare o'er. Oh! fit moment for thy toil to cease, The day when Luke, the blest evangelist, The much loved physician, entered into peace. Childlike of heart! for thee we cannot weep, For thou art now with Christ, and blessed is thy sleep.
W.E.Alston - 1835-1896.
THIS IS THE LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT of me WILLIAM EVELYN ALSTON of East Cliffs House Sandgate in the County of Kent Esquire Doctor of Medicine Surgeon Major (Retired) and a Justice of the Peace for the County of Kent I bequeath the following specific legacies namely my gold watch and silver match box to my son William Evelyn Alston my silver watch and Buffalo horn goblet to my son Arthur Fawssett Alston my gun and captain Blake's pin to my son Robert Graham Fitzgerald Alston my silver inkstand to my daughter Lila Elizabeth Alston my coral shirt studs and buttons and pin to my son Ernest Alfred Brooke Alston my horse shoe links to my daughter Dora Glades Oxenden Alston a silver spoon and fork to my old servant Sarah Joy I also bequeath the sum of Three hundred pounds to the said Sarah Jov in recognition of her long and faithful services to myself and my family I direct that all legacy duty payable in respect of the specific and pecuniary legacies hereinbefore bequeathed shall be paid out of my residuary personal estate And that the pecuniary legacy shall be paid within one calendar moth from my decease And subject to the hereinbefore mentioned bequests I devise and bequeath all my real and personal estate and effects unto my dear wife ELIZABETH ROUSE ALSTON for her own absolute use and benefit And I APPOINT HER SOLE EXECUTRIX of this my Will
IN WITNESS whereof I have hereunto set my hand to this my Will this Fifth day of February One Thousand Eight hundred and Ninety six
Signed by the said William Evelyn Alston as and for his last Will and testament in the presence of us present and at the same time who at his request William Evelyn Alston and his sight and presence and in the presence of each other have subscribed our names as attesting witnesses Alfred H.Gardner - Solicitor - Folkstone Arthur Cox - his clerk.
On the 18th day of January 1897 Probate of this Will was granted at Canterbury to Elizabeth Rouse Alston Widow the sole Executrix
The Will of William Evelyn Alston MD Esq of East Cliff Hse Sandgate Kent Surgeon Major retired who died 19 Oct 1896 was Proved 18 January 1897 by Elizabeth Rouse Alston for L965/10/11.
Portrait of George Alston's boys dated 1843 is in the hands of Michael Murray-Alston 2009.
1. Census: England, 7 Jun 1841, Ever Green Cottage Lepton Kirk Heaton Yorkshire. William is recorded as aged 5 born in Ireland
2. Census: England, 30 Mar 1851, St Peters Tce Stepney Tower Hamlets LND. William is recorded as a son aged 15 a scholar born Ireland
3. Surgeon Major William Evelyn Alston: Pay sheet India to NZ & Army records of William's NZ postings, 1861.
PRO Ref; WO 12/7830 & WO 76/62 - Quarterly Pay list for the 70th Regiment of Foot, for the period 22 February to 14 May 1861, "on passage from India to New Zealand", mentions him as an Assistant Surgeon, starting with the Regiment on 6th March 1861 to 14th May for 70 days at the rate of 10/- shillings a day he received £35 and paid £1 9s 2d shillings Income Duty. He Embarked at Calcutta on 4th March and disembarked at Auckland, New Zealand on 14th May (72 days) and "he was sent from the Regiment" on the 5th August 1861.
The 70th Foot were based at Bairds Farm & Camp Otahuhu Auckland.
The 70th (The Surrey) Regiment of Foot
William's Company were involved in the following actions in NZ.
In June (1861) the 70th arrived (in NZ). Pg 93.
A Company under Major Ryan was despatched to the Otago disturbances among the European goldminers. Pg 94
Three Companies of 70th left in the winter of 1862 to complete the Queens Redoubt at Pokeno (Sth Auckland). Pg 97
Engaged in support in the taking of Tataraimaka Pa (Sth of New Plymouth) 4 June 1863. Pg 99
Engaged against superior numbers in the defense of a redoubt at Poutoko (Sth of New Plymouth). Pg 100
In action against Waikato Maori at Kiheroa on the Waikato river near Meremere17 July 1863. Pg 105
Involved in construction of blockhouses between Thames and Waikato Rivers. Mid Nov 1863. Pg 108
In action in Waikato 21 Feb 1864, dug in at Rangirowhia (South of Cambridge) and supported by two guns the 70th dashed forward and carried the position with only 3 wounded, the action was praised in despatches. Pgs 113-115
In action 1 April 1864 at siege of Orakau Pa (Sth of Cambridge) a hard fought and heroic action on both sides which was decisive in breaking Waikato Maori resistance Pg 113-115
In action at Gate Pa (Tauranga) 29 April 1864 where a large force (1700 troops) were repulsed in a ignominious disaster of poor tactics matched by brave defence by the Maori led by Rawini. The British took heavy casualties (about 100 men). Pg 121
Moved in May 1864 to Taranaki NZ fighting the Hau Hau. Pg 139
Assembled in Auckland in December 1865, the 70th sailed for Dover after 17 years in India and NZ. Pg 182
Page Reference - Tom Gibson's history "The Maori Wars", Reed Wellington NZ.
In many of the actions above the 70th was part of a larger force. Gate Pa is of particular significance in the history of the NZ Maori Wars, led by the 43rd British Regiment with considerable artillery support, the Pa was stormed after prolonged shelling. However the Maori using trench's and tunnels against the barrage resisted the British attacks with great success and few losses. The Maori finally withdrew from the Pa at night. British forces first came up against trench warfare in fighting Maori who were particularly skilled military tacticians. (A Pa is a fortified village).
4. Census: England, 2 Apr 1871, Waterton Lodge Milton Rd Woolston Ham. William is recorded as head of house married aged 35 assistant surgeon RAMD born Ireland
5. Census: England, 3 Apr 1881, Oadby Leicester. William is recorded as resident at Broxhills House Oadby, aged 45, head of house, married, a Surgeon Major Army Medical Depot, born in Ireland.
Also in the house were Elizabeth his wife, three daughters, two sons, and four servants
6. Census: England, 5 Apr 1891, East End House, Sandgate, Kent. William is recorded as head of house married aged 55 retired Surgeon Major Army Medical Staff born in Ireland. Also in the house were four servants.
William married Elizabeth Rouse FITZGERALD  [MRIN: 22], daughter of Hon Robert FITZGERALD of Sydney M.L.C.  and Elizabeth Henrietta ROUSE , on 5 Jan 1867 in St John Darlinghurst, N.S.W. (Elizabeth Rouse FITZGERALD  was born on 5 Oct 1844 in Windsor, N.S.W., christened on 1 Sep 1846 in St Matthew Windsor NSW, died on 6 Apr 1918 in East Cliff House, Sandgate, Kent and was buried in Apr 1918 in Folkstone, KEN.). The cause of her death was valvular disease of the heart & cerebral thrombosis.
Noted events in their marriage were:
1. Marriage Certificate: copy on hand, 1867.