• Christina Drummond

Lieutenant the Honourable Frederick Hugh Sherston Roberts V.C., King’s Royal Rifle Corps


Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 1899, Lieutenant the Honourable Frederick Hugh Sherston Roberts V.C., King’s Royal Rifle Corps, died from wounds received two days earlier during the Battle of Colenso in the Second Boer War.

The only son of Field Marshall Frederick Roberts, 1st Earl Roberts, he attended Eton College and then the Royal Military College at Sandhurst. In 1891 he was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the King’s Royal Rifle Corps. During 1894 and 1895 he saw action in the Waziristan Expedition, was Mentioned in Despatches, and was noted for his effective leadership. Three years later he took part in the Nile Expedition, was promoted to Lieutenant, and awarded the Order of Meijidieh of the Fourth Class.

On the 15th of December in 1899 at the Battle of Colenso, along with several others, he endeavoured to save the guns of the 14th and 66th Batteries of the Royal Field Artillery. Those who had been serving the guns had either been killed or wounded, with some survivors sheltering with what remained of the horses in a dried watercourse some five hundred yards away. Lieutenant Roberts took some men with horses and together they worked at hooking a team to a limber, and then a limber to a gun. During this endeavour he was shot and grievously wounded, dying two days later. His bravery was noted by Commander-in-Chief General Sir Redvers Buller, who recommended that he be awarded the Victoria Cross.

Lieutenant Roberts and his father are one of three father-and-son pairs to have won the Victoria Cross. He is buried in the Chieveley Military Cemetery, at Frere, in the KwaZulu-Natal province of South Africa.

Frederick, born in Umballa, in the province of Punjab, British India (as it was then known), was 27 years old.

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