The General


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One of the most successful Commanders of the Victorian era.

Born: 30 September 1832 in Cawnpore, India –to an Irish mother and Scottish father.

Educated: Eton College and Royal Military College Sandhurst.

Service: 53 years of service with the British Army. He served in numerous expeditions, campaigns, battles, sieges and wars. The most notable included the:

  • Abyssinian Campaign
  • Indian Rebellion
  • Second Anglo-Afghan War
  • Boer War (where he led the British Forces to success).

Honours: A highly decorated man whose honours included the:

  • Victoria Cross
  • Knight of the Order of the Garter
  • Knight of the Order of St Patrick
  • Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath
  • Knight Grand Commander of the Order of the Star of India

Family: Roberts married Nora Henrietta Bews on 17 May 1857. They had three children. His only son (Frederick Hugh Sherston Roberts) also received a Victoria Cross. They are one of only three father-son pairs to be thus awarded.

Roberts’ son was killed in action, during the Boer War (on 17 December 1899) six days prior to his father taking command of the British Forces in that war.

Highest Rank Attained: Field Marshall – the highest rank in the British Army.

Died: 14 November 1914 in St Omer, France while visiting troops fighting in the First World War.

He was laid in state in Westminster Hall, London - one of two non-Royals who were afforded this honour in the 20th Century (Winston Churchill being the other).

He received a State funeral and is buried in St. Paul’s Cathedral, London.