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Sir Philip Christison, 4th Baronet
17 November 1893 - 21 December 1993
Place of birth Edinburgh, Scotland
Place of death Melrose, Roxburghshire, Scotland
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch British Army
Years of service 1914 - 1949
Rank General
Unit Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders
Commands held Quetta Brigade, India (1938)
Command and Staff College, Quetta (1940)
XXXIII Indian Corps (1942)
XV Indian Corps (1943)
Fourteenth Army (1945, temporary)
Commander-in-Chief Allied Land Forces, South East Asia (1945)
Allied Forces, Dutch East Indies (1946)
Northern Command (1946)
Scottish Command and Governor of Edinburgh Castle 1947
Battles/wars World War I
the Somme
World War II
Burma Campaign
Indonesian National Revolution
Awards Military Cross (1915)
Other work Secretary of the Scottish Education Department

General Sir (Alexander Frank) Philip Christison, 4th Baronet GBE CB DSO MC (17 November 1893 - 21 December 1993) was a British military commander of the Second World War.


Early life and career

Christison was born in Edinburgh, the eldest son of five children of Sir Alexander Christison, 3rd Baronet and his second wife, Florence. He was educated at Edinburgh Academy and University College, Oxford.

Christison was commissioned into the Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders in 1914 and during World War I he saw action in the battles of Loos, were he was awarded the Military Cross, the Somme and Arras.

Christison was assistant manager of the British Olympic team in Paris in 1924.

In February, 1937 Lieutenant Colonel AFP Christison MC, was appointed commander of the 2nd Battalion, Duke of Wellington's Regiment in the Multan area of the Punjab, North-West Frontier Province. By February 1938 he was promoted to Colonel and selected to command a brigade.

World War II

In 1940 and 1941, Christison was Commandant of the Command and Staff College, Quetta in the former British India (now Pakistan). In 1941, he was promoted to Major General and then to Lieutenant General in 1942. He assumed command of the Indian XV Corps in 1943, part of the newly formed British Fourteenth Army, succeeding William Slim, who had been promoted to command the Fourteenth Army. The XV Corps made up the Southern Front of the Burma Campaign in the coastal region known as the Arakan.

During the Second Arakan Offensive in February 1944, XV Corps advanced southwards. A Japanese attempt to outflank and isolate elements of the Corps failed when 7th Indian Division held off the attacks and the Corps' administrative area - the "Adnin Box" - successfully fought off attacks by the Japanese 55th Division (Battle of the Admin Box). This was the first time in World War II that a British army successfully defeated the Japanese in a land battle. XV Corps was withdrawn on 22 March to assist the allied defence of Imphal. In December 1944 Christison and his fellow corps commanders Stopford and Scoones were knighted and invested as KBE by the viceroy Lord Wavell at a ceremony at Imphal in front of the Scottish, Gurkha and Punjab regiments. Slim was knighted and invested as KCB at the same occasion.

In 1945, Christison assumed temporary command of the Fourteenth Army and also deputised for Slim as Commander of Allied Land Forces, South-East Asia when Slim was on leave, reverting to XV Corps on Slim's return. Christison led XV Corps into Rangoon in May of that year.

In September 1945 Christison deputised for Admiral Lord Louis Mountbatten as commander of SEAC and took the surrender of the Japanese Seventh Area Army and Japanese South Sea Fleet at Singapore on September 3. From 1946, Christison was Allied Commander of forces in the Dutch East Indies. In November, Christison's troops were involved in a full-scale battle to suppress pro-Independence Indonesian soldiers and militia in Surabaya.


Christison was General Officer Commanding-in-Chief of Northern Command from 1946 to 1947 and then of Scottish Command from 1947 to 1949 when retired from the Army and farmed at Melrose in Scotland. During the 1950s and 1960s he was Secretary of the Scottish Education Department.

Christison married twice: to Betty Mitchell, with whom he had three daughters and a son, from 1916 until her death in 1974; and then to Vida Wallace Smith until her death in 1992. He died in 1993 at the age of 100.


Military offices
Preceded by
Sir Neil Ritchie
Governor of Edinburgh Castle
Succeeded by
Gordon MacMillan


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