Arthur D Alban joined the British Diplomatic Service as a student interpreter in 1882 and shortly afterwards was shown in the Tonbridge School register as Assistant to the British Consulate at Beirut and Damascus. He did not appear in the 1891 or 1901 British censuses. In 1911 he is mentioned in British Foreign Office papers as the official government recipient of a treatise on Egyptian customs by G E DeVries entitled Stolen Husbands, Foreign Wives: Mixed Marriage and Identity Formation. Between 1909 and 1919 Arthur travelled between Britain and Port Said, Egypt.
By 1919 he was shown on the passenger list of the ship the Kildonan Castle to Port Said, Egypt as His Britannic Majesty’s Consul in Cairo, Egypt. In 1919 his wife Ann Amalia Fritsch (1866 Hungary - 1966) travelled with him to Egypt. She was the daughter of Iskender Bey Fritsch, a colonel in the Ottoman Army, according to the marriage announcement in The Times of India. They married in 1889 in Beirut, then in Syria. See sidebar with more about Arthur David Alban.
Arthur D Alban and Ann Amalia Fritsch had three children all born in Alexandria, Egypt while their father was serving as consul. Evan Charles Harry Alban (1890 Alexandria, Egypt-1974 England), Arthur Hugh Alban Alban (1892 Alexandria, Egypt—1978 England) and Reginald George Evelyn William Alban (1899 Alexandria, Egypt—1983 England). I have recently made contact with a great grand daughter of Arthur D Alban and Ann Amalia Fritsch. She has four young children of her own and two living Alban cousins with children of their own too – so there are living Albans after all!
Here are some of the key features of the distinguished careers of the children of Arthur D Alban and Ann A Fritsch.
Evan Charles Harry Alban (1890-1974)
According to his great niece, Evan C H Alban was the one who was a spy though he kept it secret, even from his wife, or rather wives, for he married twice. Firstly he married Sarah Talbot Kavanaugh in 1926 (who had previously been married to Walter Valentine Churchill-Longman) and then after divorcing Sarah in 1932 he married Constance Charlotte Wilmot-Sitwell (known as Bunny) in 1945. She was the daughter of Hervey Wheler Wilmot-Sitwell (1865-1944) of the famous Sitwell family and Alice Mary Schwind.
In 1913 Evan C H Alban travelled by ship to Liverpool from Port Said where he had been working in the Egyptian police force. During WW1 he served the Royal Artillery in Iraq and France, in the 11th Brigade, Royal Field Artillery and attained the rank of Acting Captain. In 1923 he went to India to live, still holding the rank of officer. Understandably reports of his activities in military intelligence may not be easily available.
Arthur Hugh Alban Alban (1892-1978)
Arthur H Alban is frequently cited in Sudanese historical accounts of the colonial and post-colonial period. He served the Sudanese Government for a long period. During the 1914-18 war he reached the rank of Acting Lieutenant in the Royal Field Artillery.
A report of his retirement was published in the Sudan Star newspaper on 29 August 1951 and posted by his son David on the BBC website:
“Capt. A.H.A. Alban First Commander to Occupy Axis Territory.
“Captain A. H. A. Alban, D.F.C will be sailing from Port Sudan about the end of the month on final leave after thirty years of service with the Sudan Government.
“Captain A.H.A. Alban was posted from the Royal Field Artillery to the Egyptian Army in August, 1921 and, with the rank of Bimbashi, was later seconded for duty with the Sudan Government and appointed as 2nd Inspector (equivalent to the rank of Assistant District Commissioner) in the old Mongalla Province, in southern Sudan.”
Quoting from the same newspaper report posted in the BBC Empire website:
He was there for nearly seven years before being moved to the Upper Nile Province where he served until 1942. During that period he took a prominent part in the re-organisation of the Nuer which followed their revolt of 1927. His imperturbability and firmness - always tempered with good humour - did much to help change their attitude towards the Government from hostility to friendliness. He laid the foundation for Native Administration and Development on tribal lines, and was a keen supporter of education, sending a steady stream of boys to the Nasir Mission School.
The capture of an Italian post at Tirgol on the Abyssinian frontier in June, 1940 by Upper Nile Police under the command of Captain Alban was the first occasion since the outbreak of war that troops under British command had occupied Axis territory.
In November, 1942 Captain Alban was appointed His Britannic Majesty's Consul at Gore in Western Abyssinia, the post from which he retired after a long and distinguished career of loyal service. He died on Jersey in the Channel Islands in 1978.
Reginald George Evelyn William Alban (1899-1983)
Reginald G E W Alban was born in Alexandria, Egypt. Joining the Alban “family business” - the British Army - he received his first commission in 1918 as a Captain in the Indian Foreign and Political Department (India Office List 1933).
His formal military employment ended in 1925 when he became acting British Political Agent, Oman on 24 May 1925 until 7 Oct 1925 for the first of a number of periods. He held a number of diplomatic posts in Oman, Bahrain and the Persian Gulf between 1925 and 1947. His journeys by ship from England to Calcutta, India and the Middle East - Port Said and Aden show that he travelled regularly in the course of his work.
Just prior to Indian’s independence Reginald G E W Alban is included as an author of the Kerman Consulate Diary Persia (1945-47), by the Foreign Department of the Government of India, by which time he was a Lieutenant Colonel. His wife was Kathleen Margaret Shearer who had previously been married to Oliver Durrant.