1st Earl of Kandahar, Pretoria and Waterford,
last Commander-in-Chief of the British Army.
Born the son of General Sir Abraham Roberts in Cawnpore, India, he was sent to Eton in 1845, entered Sandhurst in 1847 and then attended the East India Company’s college at Addiscombe. In 1851 he joined the Bengal Artillery.
During the Indian Mutiny, Roberts was at the siege of Delhi and at the second relief of Lucknow. He won the Victoria Cross at Khudaganj in April 1858. During the years that followed he rose steadily in rank.
In 1879-1880, during the Second Afghan War, he undertook a march from Kabul to Kandahar, transporting 10,000 soldiers and 8,000 camp-followers over 300 miles in 22 days. He was commander-in-chief in Ireland (1895-1899) before assuming supreme command (1899) in the Anglo-Boer War. His services were distinguished, and he was rewarded with an earldom. At the outbreak of the First World War he became the Colonel-in-Chief of Overseas and Indian Forces. He led an Indian expeditionary force despatched to France in 1914 but died at St. Omer on 14 November 1914. After lying in state in Westminster Hall (one of only two non-Royals to do so in the 20th century, the other being Winston Churchill), he was buried in St Paul’s Cathedral.
His son, Frederick Hugh Sherston Roberts, also won a Victoria Cross. Today, both medals are in the National Army Museum in Chelsea.
Photographed by the London Stereoscopic Company.
condition: Barring a few small, faint imperfections in the area of the background, the print is in excellent condition, as is the mount.
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