The grave of Frederick Hugh Sherston Roberts VC (08/01/1872 – 17/12/1899) may be found in Chievely Military Cemetery in Natal. He was the son of Commander Field Marshal Frederick Roberts VC, 1st Earl Roberts.
Roberts was awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross after an action at Colenso on 15 December 1899. Alongside several others he tried to save the guns of the 14th and 66th Batteries, Royal Field Artillery, when the detachments serving the guns had all become casualties or been driven from their guns. Corporal George Nurse and some drivers of the 66th Battery, with three of Buller’s staff, including Lieutenant Frederick Roberts, King’s Royal Rifle Corps, reached the guns under a hail of fire and got two away, but Roberts was mortally wounded.
The Citation, recorded in the London Gazette of Issue: 27160, Page:689, reads:
“The Queen has been graciously pleased to signify Her intention to confer the decoration of the Victoria Cross on the undermentioned Officers and Non-Commissioned Officer, whose claims have been submitted for Her Majesty’s approval, for their conspicuous bravery at the battle of Colenso, as stated against their names:—
The Rifle Brigade (The Prince Consort’s Own), Captain W. N. Congreve
At Colenso on the 15th December, 1899, the detachments serving the guns of the 14th and 66th Batteries, Royal Field Artillery, had all been either killed, wounded, or driven from their guns by Infantry fire at close range, and the guns were deserted.
About 500 yards behind the guns was a donga in which some of the few horses and drivers left alive were sheltered. The intervening space was swept with shell and rifle fire.
Captain Congreve, Rifle Brigade, who was in the donga, assisted to hook a team into a limber, went out; and assisted to limber up a gun. Being wounded, he took shelter; but, seeing Lieutenant Roberts fall, badly wounded, he went out again and brought him in. Captain Congreve was shot through the leg, through the toe of his boot, grazed on the elbow and the shoulder, and his horse shot in three places.
Lieutenant the Honourable F. H. S. Roberts (since deceased). Lieutenant Roberts assisted Captain Congreve. He was wounded in three places.
66th Battery, Royal Field Artillery, Corporal G. E. Nurse, Corporal Nurse also assisted.
7th Battery, Royal Field Artillery, Captain H. L. Reed. Captain Reed, who had heard of the difficulty, shortly afterwards brought down three teams from his battery to see if he could be of any use. He was wounded, as were five of the thirteen men who rode with him, one was killed and thirteen out of twenty-one horses were killed before he got half-way to the guns, and he was obliged to retire.“
© DRW 2011-2018. Created 04/11/2011. Added to Blog 03/01/2015. Image of Frederick Roberts grave by Eric Leach, Image of wounding plaque by Tony Wood. Taddy &Co cigarette card by Card Promotions, ©1997, first issued 1902. Edited 10/05/2017