space100.gif (138 bytes) Frederick Sleigh Roberts
Field Marshal Lord Roberts of Kandahar, V.C., K.G., K.P., G.C.B., O.M., G.C.S.I., G.C.I.E.
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"Bobs"
Lord Roberts of Kandahar

Lord Roberts commanded the British forces in Afghanistan during Baden-Powell's service in 1881-1882. He was later to become the Commander-in-Chief in India (1885-1893), in the South African War (1899-1902) and, finally Commander-in-Chief of the British Army (1901-1904). For much of Baden-Powell's active military service, Lord Roberts was among the highest ranking and most respected officers of the British Army. He became known as "Kipling's General." 

His life was jewelled and upheld by those ideals the poet himself sought to glorify - courage, faith and honour.  But ... to Kipling's Tommy Atkins he was just "Bobs," a well-loved commander who had been with them since most of them were recruits, a shrewd tactician, yet careful of his men's lives and solicitous of their welfare. Nothing endears a leader to his men more than sparing them needless hardship, and for this reason his men would follow Bobs through all necessary perils, partly for their belief in him, and partly to see that no harm befell him.

Bobs served for a total of forty-one years in India, at a time when the Indian Army was both unfashionable and unadvantageous. In those years he rose from Horse Artillery subaltern to Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Army. He served with distinction in the Indian Mutiny, winning the V.C. for repeated acts of heroism, but he will chiefly be remembered as the man who curbed the unruly spirit of the treacherous Afghans, wiping out the memory of British defeats and bringing peace to the North-West Frontier. His march from Kabul to Kandahar will long be cited as a remarkable feat of both strategy and administration. 

Beset by Sir Garnet Wolesley's jealousy of all Indian officers, though the Indian Command was by far the most enlightened and experienced, Bobs still succeeded in rising, being first C-in-C Ireland, Bobs himself was an Irishman, and finally, the last C-in-C of the whole army before the post was abolished. Sent to reprieve the disasters of the early stages of the Boer War, his energy and decision saved the situation and caused the Boers never to take the field again as an organised army.

Characteristically, Bobs died while visiting his beloved soldiers on the Western Front in 1914, and thus passed into history a man of tact and understanding, dignity and firmness of purpose, courage and honour - Kipling's "Father Bobs."

From: W. H. Hannah, Bob's, Kipling's General. The Life of Field Marshal Earl Roberts of Kandahar, VC, 1972.


From: The Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, 1910-1911.

ROBERTS, FREDERICK SLEIGH ROBERTS, EARL (1832— ), British soldier, second son of General Sir Abraham Roberts, G.C.B., was born at Cawnpore, India, on the 30th of September 1832. Educated at Eton, Sandhurst and Addiscombe, he obtained a commission in the Bengal Artillery on 12th December 1851. In the following year he was posted to a field battery at Peshawar, where he also acted as aide-de-camp to his father, who commanded the Peshawar division.

In 1856 Roberts was appointed to the Quartermaster-General’s department of the staff, in which he remained for twenty-two years, passing from one grade to another until he became Quartermaster-General in India. On the outbreak of the Mutiny in 1857, Roberts, at first, was staff officer to the movable column operating against the mutineers in the Punjab, successively commanded by Colonels Neville Chamberlain and John Nicholson, but, towards the end of June, he joined the Delhi Field Force, and was Deputy Assistant Quartermaster-General with the artillery during the operations against Delhi. He was wounded in the fight of the 14th of July, but was sufficiently recovered in September to take command as a regimental officer of the left half of No. 2 Siege Battery during the siege. He rejoined the headquarters staff for the assault, and took part in the storm and subsequent seven days fighting in the city. He then, accompanied Colonel Greathed’s column to Cawnpore, and during September and October was present at the actions of Bulandshahr, Aligarh, Agra, Bithur and Kanauj. He served under Sir Colin Campbell at the second relief of Lucknow in November, at the battle of Cawnpore on the 6th of December, and the subsequent pursuit and defeat of the Gwalior contingent near Shinrajpur. Roberts distinguished himself at the engagement of Khudaganj, on the 2nd of January 1858, by capturing, in single-handed combat, a standard from two sepoys, and also by cutting down a sepoy about to kill a sowar. For these acts of gallantry he was recommended for the Victoria Cross. He was present at the reoccupation of Fatehgarh on the 6th of January, the storm of Mianganj in February, the siege and capture of Lucknow in March, and the action at Kursi on the 22nd of that month, after which he went home on sick leave. For his services in the Mutiny he was seven times mentioned in despatches, received the medal with three clasps, the Victoria Cross, and on his promotion to captain, in October 1860, a brevet majority. On the 17th of May 1859 he married, at Waterford, Miss Nora Bews, and on his return to India was entrusted with the organization of the Viceroy’s camps during the progresses through Oudh, the North-West Provinces, the Punjab and Central India in 1860 and 1861. In December 1863 he took part, under Major-General Garvock, in the Umbeyla campaign among the mountains to the north of Peshawar, and was present at the storm of Lalu, the capture of Umbeyla, and the destruction of Mulka, receiving for his services the medal and clasp.

In 1867 Roberts was appointed Assistant Quartermaster-General to Sir Donald Stewart’s Bengal Brigade for Abyssinia. He showed judgment in embarking each unit complete in every detail, instead of despatching camp equipage in one ship, transport in another, and so on, as was customary.  He arrived at Zula, Annesley Bay, in the Red Sea, the base of the expedition, on the 3rd of February 1868, and remained there as senior base staff officer during the four months’ campaign. At its close he superintended the re-embarkation. of the whole army. His duties were so well performed that Sir Robert Napier sent him home with his final despatches. He was three times “mentioned,” and received a brevet lieutenant-colonelcy and the war medal. He returned to India the following year as First Assistant Quartermaster-General. In the autumn of 1871 he made the arrangements for the expedition into Lushai, between southeast Bengal and Burma, fitted out two columns under Brigadiers-General Bourchier and Brownlow, and himself accompanied the first. A road, over 100 miles long, was cut through dense gloomy forests in stifling heat, and the column was attacked by cholera; but the object of the expedition was successfully accomplished, and Roberts, who was present at the capture of the Kholel villages and the action in the Northlang range, and commanded the troops at the burning of Taikum, was mentioned in despatches and made a Companion of the Bath. On his return in March 1872, he became Deputy Quartermaster-General in Bengal, and in 1875 Quartermaster-General and colonel. He settled the details of the great camp of exercise at Delhi on the occasion of the visit of the Prince of Wales in January 1876, and attended H.R.H. at the maneuvers. He also superintended the arrangements for the great durbar at Delhi on the 1st of January 1877, when Queen Victoria was proclaimed Empress of India.

In 1878 Roberts was appointed to the command of the Frontier Field Force at Abbottabad, in Hazara; but in the autumn, on the repulse of the Chamberlain Mission by the Afghans, and the formation of three columns to advance into Afghanistan by the Khyber, the Bolan and the Kurram passes, he was given the command of the Kurram Field Force, with the rank of major-general. Concentrating his column at Thai, he advanced to Kurram towards the end of November, and having formed an advanced base there, moved on to Habib Lila. Under cover of preparations for a front attack on the Peiwar Kotal, he reconnoitred that formidable position, and on the night of the 1st of December moved part of his force to attack the Spingawi Kotal, in order to turn the Afghan left flank, leaving the remainder of the force to feign a frontal attack on the Peiwar, and to guard the camp. After a very difficult night march the Spingawi Kotal was carried at daybreak on the 2nd, and, later, the Afghans on the Peiwar Kotal, threatened in rear, abandoned the position. The next morning Roberts occupied the Peiwar, and on the 6th advanced to Ali Khel. He reconnoitred the Shutargardan and the Sapari passes, and made a strong reconnaissance through Khost, in which some fighting took place, and at the end of January returned to Hagir Pir, in Kurram, where his force remained in occupation. In July. Major Cavagnari, the British envoy to the new Amir, Yakub Khan, passed through Kurram on his way to Kabul, and, shortly afterwards, Roberts left his Kurram command and went to Simla to take his seat on the army commission, where he strongly advocated the abolition of the three Presidency armies, and the substitution for them of four army corps, a measure which was carried out sixteen years later. While he was at Simla, news arrived on the 5th of September of the murder of Cavagnari and his companions at Kabul. The Peshawar Valley Force had been broken up; Sir Donald Stewart was still at Kandahar, but most of his troops had started for India; Roberts, therefore, had the only force ready to strike rapidly at Kabul. It was hastily reinforced, and he hurried back to Kurram to take command, as a lieutenant-general, of the Kabul Field Force (7500 men and 22 guns). By the 19th of September a brigade was entrenched on the Shutargardan, and as Roberts advanced, the Amir Yakub Khan came into his camp.  An Afghan force of 8000 men blocked the way in a strong position on the heights beyond Charasia, and on the 6th of October Roberts repeated the tactics that had done him such good service at the Peiwar in the previous year, and sending Brigadier-General T. D. Baker with the greater part of his force to turn the Afghan. right flank, threatened the pass in front with the remainder. By the afternoon Baker had seized the position, and the enemy, severely defeated, were in full retreat. Kabul was occupied without further opposition.

The city was spared, but punishment was meted out to those convicted of complicity in the murder of the British Mission. Yakub Khan abdicated on the 12th of October, and was eventually deported to India. The troops occupied the Sherpur cantonments; but in November a religious war was proclaimed by the Mullahs, and early in December, in order to prevent a threatening combination of Afghan tribes against him, Roberts moved out two columns to attack them in detail. After considerable fighting around Kabul, the numbers of the enemy were so great that he was forced to concentrate his troops again at Sherpur, the defences of which had been greatly improved and strengthened. Sherpur was invested by the enemy, and early on the 23rd of December was attacked by over 100,000 Afghans. They were driven off with great loss; and on making a second attempt to storm the place, were met by Roberts, who moved out, attacked them in flank, and defeated them, when they broke and dispersed. Roberts now recommended the political dismemberment of Afghanistan, and negotiations were carried on with the northern tribes for the appointment of an Amir for the Kabul district only. On the 5th of, May Sir Donald Stewart arrived with his Column from Kandahar and assumed the supreme command in Afghanistan, Roberts retaining, under Stewart, the command of the two Kabul divisions, and organizing an efficient transport corps under Colonel R. Low, which was soon to be of inestimable value. On the 22nd of July Abdur Rahman was proclaimed Amir of Kabul; and Roberts was preparing to withdraw his troops to India by the Kurram route, when news arrived that a British brigade had been totally defeated at Maiwand on the 27th of July, and that Lieutenant-General Primrose was besieged in Kandahar. Roberts was ordered to proceed thither at once with a specially selected column of 10,000 troops and his new transport corps. He started on his famous march on the 9th of August and arrived at Kandahar on the morning of the 31st, having covered 313 miles in twenty-two days. On the following day he fought the battle of Kandahar and gained a complete victory. His services in the Afghan campaigns of 1878 to 1880 are recorded in eight Gazettes, and were recognized by the thanks of both Houses of Parliament, of the Government of India, and of the Governor-General in Council. He was created K.C.B., G.C.B. and a baronet, received the medal with four clasps and the bronze star, and was given the command of the Madras army.

Before proceeding to Madras, Roberts went home on furlough, and when the news of the disaster at Majuba Hill in South Africa arrived in London at the end of February 1881, he was appointed governor of Natal and Commander-in-Chief in South Africa. He arrived at Cape Town to find that peace had been made with the Boers, and that instructions were awaiting him to return home. The same year he attended the autumn maneuvers in Hanover as the guest of the German emperor. He declined the post of Quartermaster-General to the forces in succession to Sir Garnet Wolseley, and returned to India, arriving at Madras in November. The following year he visited Burma with the Viceroy, and in 1885 attended the meeting between Abdur Rahman and Lord Dufferin at Rawalpindi at the time  of the Panjdeh incident, in connexion with which he had been nominated to the command of an army corps in case of hostilities. In July he succeeded Sir Donald Stewart as Commander-in-Chief in India, and during his seven years' tenure of this high position instituted many measures for the benefit of the army, and greatly assisted the development of frontier communications and defence. At the end of 1885, at the request of the Viceroy, he took personal command for a time of the forces in Burma, and organized measures for the suppression of dacoity. For his services he received the medal, was created G.C.I.E., and promoted supernumerary general. In 1890 he did the honours of the army to Prince Albert Victor at a standing camp at Muridki and in 1891 his attention was occupied with the Zhob and Hunza Nagar frontier campaigns. On the 1st of January 1892 he was raised to the peerage as Baron Roberts of Kandahar and Waterford. In 1893 he left India for good, and the G.C.S.I. was bestowed upon him. He was promoted to be Field-Marshal in 1895, and in the autumn of that year succeeded Lord Wolseley in the Irish command and was sworn a Privy Councilor. At Queen Victoria's diamond jubilee in 1897 he was created K.P.

After the disastrous actions in the Boer war in South Africa in December 1899 at Magersfontein, Stormberg and Colenso, where his only son was killed, Lord Roberts was sent out as Commander-in-Chief. He arrived at Cape Town on the 10th of January 1900, and after organizing his force, advanced with sound strategy on Bloemfontein, the capital of the Orange Free State, and soon changed the aspect of affairs. The sieges of Kimberley and Ladysmith were raised, and the Boer general Cronje, flying towards the capital, was overtaken at Paardeberg and, after a fine defence, compelled to surrender, with 5000 men. on the anniversary of Majuba Day, the 27th of February 1900. Roberts entered Bloemfontein on the 13th of March, and after six weeks' preparation, advanced on Pretoria, the capital of the Transvaal. Mafeking was relieved on the 17th of May, and Pretoria occupied on the 5th of June. The two Boer states were annexed, and the war gradually assuming a guerilla character, Roberts handed over the command to Lord Kitchener and returned to England to fill the office of Commander-in-Chief of the Army in succession to Lord Wolseley

He arrived in the Solent on the 2nd of January 1901, and the same day, had an audience of Queen Victoria, who handed him the insignia of the Order of the Garter. The next day he was received at Paddington by the Prince and Princess of Wales and drove in procession to Buckingham Palace, where he was entertained as the guest of the Queen. He again had an audience of the green at Osborne on the 14th of January on his elevation to an earldom, the last audience given by Her Majesty before her death, which took place eight days later. When the German emperor came to London for the Queen's funeral, he decorated Lord Roberts with the Order of the Black Eagle. Earl Roberts received the thanks of both Houses of Parliament and a grant of £100,000 for his services in South Africa. In 1905 he resigned his post on the Committee of National Defence, and devoted himself to attempting to rouse his countrymen to the necessity of cultivating rifle shooting and of adopting systematic general military training and service. As an author he is known by his Rise of Wellington (1895), and his Forty-One Years in India (1897), an autobiography which has passed through numerous editions.

From the Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, 1910-1911.


From: Encyclopaedia Britannica Online, 1999.

Roberts (of Kandahar, Pretoria, and Waterford), Frederick Sleigh Roberts, 1st Earl, VISCOUNT ST. PIERRE.
Also called (from 1892) BARON ROBERTS OF KANDAHAR (born Sept. 30, 1832, Cawnpore, India, died Nov. 14, 1914, Saint-Omer, France), British field marshal, an outstanding combat leader in the Second Afghan War (1878-80) and the South African War (1899-1902), and the last commander in chief of the British Army (1901-04; office then abolished). Foreseeing World War I, he was one of the earliest advocates of compulsory military service.

Roberts first distinguished himself during the suppression of the Indian Mutiny (1857-58). On September 1, 1880, he scored the decisive victory of the Second Afghan War, defeating Ayub Khan's Afghan Army near Qandahar. From 1885 to 1893 he was commander in chief in India. As the second British commander in chief (December 1899-November 1900) in the South African War, he ended a succession of British defeats; captured Bloemfontein, capital of the Orange Free State Republic (March 13, 1900), and annexed that Boer state as the Orange River Colony (May 24); took the cities of Johannesburg (May 31) and Pretoria (June 5); and defeated Boer commandos at Bergendal (August 27). A field marshal from 1895, he gave way to Horatio Herbert Kitchener as commander in chief in South Africa in November 1900.

Roberts was created a baron in 1892 and an earl and viscount in 1901. Both of his sons having predeceased him, the barony became extinct, but the earldom and viscounty devolved, in turn, on his elder and younger surviving daughters.

From the Britannica Online: "Roberts (of Kandahar, Pretoria, and Waterford);
Frederick Sleigh Roberts, 1st Earl, VISCOUNT ST. PIERRE" [Accessed 16 January 1999].


An account of the passing of Lord Roberts from: Major General C.E. Callwell, K.C.B., Field Marshall Sir Henry Wilson, His Life and Diaries, London, 1927:

As the situation had become fairly satisfactory and the enemy attacks were dying away, Lord Roberts arrived at St. Omer on the 11th with Lady Aileen, to stay with Sir John.

Major Hereward Wake had been Lord Roberts's A.D.C. in South Africa and, as a member of G.H.Q., was on the spot to accompany him; while Major Lewin, his son-in-law, had also specially come to St. Omer from his battery. The Indian troops were visited on the following day, and on that evening Lord Roberts and his daughter dined at Wilson's cheery mess. Next day, accompanied by Wilson and Lewin, they proceeded to Cassel to pay a visit to General Foch, with whom the Field­-Marshal exchanged graceful compliments and who produced maps on which the course of the recent fighting was made clear. The party then went on to Bailleul to see more of the Indian troops, Wilson, however, remaining with Foch as Sir John was coming out for a discussion. Lord Roberts unfortunately contracted a chill during this day, which happened to be very wet and stormy, and when Wilson went to Sir John's house late at night to inquire, he learnt that the doctor took a serious view of his patient's condition as pneumonia was developing. By next morning the case had become grave, the doctors who were called in agreed that there could be little hope in view of the Field-Marshal's great age, and Lewin crossed the Channel in the afternoon to convey the painful news to Lady Roberts at Englemere. Wilson wrote in his diary that night (November 14th):—

The little Chief got steadily worse. I was in and out all day with Aileen, and took her for a little walk at 4 o'clock. At 7.45 p.m. Hereward sent for me. When I got there the Chief was dying. Aileen, Hereward, and I, with 3 doctors and 3 nurses were with him to the end. He died at 8 p.m. in absolute peace and quiet. The story of his life is thus completed as he would have wished himself, dying in the middle of the soldiers he loved so well and within the sound of the guns.

He wrote next day:—

I saw Aileen and Hereward off at 7:30 a. m. for Calais, and I feel easier in my mind. I went round and saw the little man, lying so gracefully in his bed…. Saw Sir John at 2 o'clock. He told me that he wished me to take the little Chief home and to represent the "Army in the Field" at the funeral. I am proud, glad, and sorry.

On the morning of the 17th a procession was formed and, to the skirl of Highlander pipes wailing a lament, the coffin was borne on a gun-carriage to the little Town Hall in the main square, where a funeral service was held. The French Army was represented by Generals Foch and Maud'huy* and by a picked detachment of the 22nd Dragoons. The Indian princes who were attached to the Indian Corps were all present, and, when the motor-hearse started on its thirty miles journey from the Town Hall to the sea, the veteran Maharajah Sir Pertab Singh took his place on it, to act as a personal guard over the remains of his old chief and friend. M. Christian Mallet writes:—

After the ceremony, which we did not see, twenty-one guns thundered out, fired by batteries posted behind the square. An immense rainbow, as sharply defined as if drawn with a stroke of the brush, cut the sky with a perfect and uninterrupted semi-circle. Symbol of peace, it came to earth directly behind the batteries, and the flash of the guns showed up against its iridescent screen.**

At Boulogne the garrison turned out and marched past the coffin, which was then conveyed to Dover by the Onward, and was left there for the night, to be moved to Ascot in the morning, while Wilson went on up to town. He visited the War Office next day, where he saw Lord Kitchener and others, and on the 19th he was one of the Insignia Bearers in the procession at the stately funeral of the great Field-Marshal in St. Paul's. He expresses himself in his diary as much impressed by the beautiful service, arranged on the same lines as that held on the occasion of Lord Wolseley's burial, which he had attended three years before….

From: Major General C.E. Callwell, K.C.B., Field Marshall Sir Henry Wilson, His Life and Diaries, London, 1927.

* General Maud'huy was the first Chief Scout of the Scouts de France (1921-1923).
** M. Christian Mallet,"Impressions and Experiences of a French Trooper, 1914-I5 ."


Report of the death of Lord Roberts in “The Kildare Observer,” November, 1914:

We deeply regret to announce the death of field Marshal Lord Roberts, which took place on Saturday evening at the front. Only on Thursday of last week Lord Roberts proceeded to France to see the Indian troops at present fighting at the front, of which he was Colonel-in-Chief. He contracted a chill and succumbed, after a short illness, to an attack of pneumonia. Lord Roberts was quite fit and well when he left England with Lady Aileen Roberts (his daughter) and Major Lewin, his son-in- law, on Wednesday of last week. The party had rough weather when crossing to France, but Lord Roberts showed no sign of distress upon landing. In fact, so well was he that he accomplished everything in France that he went to do.

On Thursday and Friday he visited by motor car the British bases and camps, discussing affairs with the leading officers, and his Lordship's chief purpose, the inspection of the Indian troops, was also fulfilled.

It was not until dinner on Friday night that he complained of feeling a slight chill, and being subject to more or less trilling chest troubles, he followed his usual course and went to bed early. Usually these attacks were amenable to home treatment, but as his temperature increased rather then dropped a medical man was summoned, his diagnosis put a serious opinion that Lord Roberts was in an extremely critical condition.

His Lordship complained occupations, his highest obligation were faithfully discharged in a room specially set apart for players for the household, while Sunday morning invariably found him at church. If he had visitors they would be seen in his nephew. He would always walk to church rather than give Sunday work to his chauffeur or coachman. Every institution in Ascot having for its object the good of the inhabitants had his warm support.

Although the present war had put an additional strain on Lord Roberts, it did not excite him beyond what might be expected of an old soldier. He, of all men knew it would come sooner or later, and though it came perhaps sooner than he expected it did not find him unprepared.

The Press Bureau on Wednesday morning issued a lengthy account of the funeral service of Lord Roberts at the General Headquarters in France:—

It was an impressive scene as the remains of the ex-chief of the British army were conveyed with Military Honours from the house where he died, through the town in which are at present stationed General Headquarters, to the Town Hall, where the funeral service was performed. The route was lined with British and French troops.

To the wail of "Flowers of the Forest" from pipers the long cortege moved up the street in the following order:- British Cavalry, French Cavalry, Territorials, Indian Detachments, Regimental Officers, the Maire and other French Officials, Indian Officers, Officer of the French mission with the British Army Officers of the General Headquarters staff, and the French General Officer's Personal staff, and the Commander-in-Chief. The gun carriage, escorted by eight General Officers acting as Pall Bearers: representatives of Earl Roberts family; The Prince of Wales, representing the King; Sir John French, representing the King of the Belgians; Prince Arthur of Connaught; Colonel V. Huquet, representing the French President; French Cavalry, and Royal Horse Artillery.

The service was held in the Vestibule of the Maire, which had been converted into a temporary chapel, furnished with an altar and beautifully decorated with flowers. The whole of the Officers attending were accommodated within, and the Prince of Wales and Prince Arthur stood at one end of the Bier. The service was conducted by Rev. F.J. Anderson of "Now the Labourer's task is over" and "O God, our help in ages past". At the conclusion of the service the "Last Post", blown by British Buglers, rang out across the square, and brought to those present the realisation that they had followed their old chief for the last time.

The interment took place at St. Paul's, London on Thursday, the King being present.

From: “The Kildare Observer,” November, 1914.

 

Report of the death of Lord Roberts in “The Kildare Observer,” November, 1914:

We deeply regret to announce the death of field Marshal Lord Roberts, which took place on Saturday evening at the front. Only on Thursday of last week Lord Roberts proceeded to France to see the Indian troops at present fighting at the front, of which he was Colonel-in-Chief. He contracted a chill and succumbed, after a short illness, to an attack of pneumonia. Lord Roberts was quite fit and well when he left England with Lady Aileen Roberts (his daughter) and Major Lewin, his son-in- law, on Wednesday of last week. The party had rough weather when crossing to France, but Lord Roberts showed no sign of distress upon landing. In fact, so well was he that he accomplished everything in France that he went to do.

On Thursday and Friday he visited by motor car the British bases and camps, discussing affairs with the leading officers, and his Lordship's chief purpose, the inspection of the Indian troops, was also fulfilled.

 


  For a additional coverage of the services and ceremonies commemorating the death of Lord Roberts, see The Funeral of Lord Roberts, as presented in Garen Ewing's thoughtful research on the Second Afghan War.
     
The Times of London provided extensive coverage of Lord Robert's Funeral reporting in detail the events of the day.
     

Lord Roberts was awarded the Victoria Cross for gallantry in the face of the enemy while serving as a Lieutenant in the Bengal Horse Artillery (Indian Army) during the Indian Mutiny. The Victoria Cross is Britain's highest award for gallantry. In 1899, his son, Frederick Hugh Sherston Roberts, was awarded the V.C. posthumously for his actions at the Battle of Colenso during the South African War.
In his autobiography, Forty-One Years in India, London, 1897, Lord Roberts recounts the Siege of Delhi (1857) during the Indian Mutiny (Chapters XIII through XIX).
Over his long military career, Lord Roberts was recognized with the highest Honours and Decorations of England and the British Empire as well as military medals for his gallantry, participation and leadership while on campaign.

Lord Robert's was sometimes referred to as Kipling's General. He was the personification of what Kipling thought of as best of the Army in India. Kipling wrote two poems dedicated to him: "Bobs" and "Lord Roberts." The Kipling Society's "Readers Guide" provides an insightful and informative article by Julian Moore on "Kipling and Lord Roberts."
  Lord Roberts was honored to serve as the first Colonel of the Irish Guards. The honour being conferred in October of 1900. Roberts at the time of his appointment was still serving in South Africa, so upon his arrival at Paddington Station, London in January of 1901, a Guard of Honour was mounted by the Irish Regiment. This was the first, but not the last; time the Irish Guards would be on display.
     
Perspectives on the South African War
A collection of links to primary and contemporary resources on the war in South Africa.

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