Personal info

  • Name: James FORBES-ROBERTSON
  • D.O.B: 7th July, 1885
  • D.O.A: 12th April, 1918
  • D.O.D: 5th August, 1955
  • Award: Victoria Cross
  • Occupation at time of action: Acting Lieutenant Colonel, commanding 1st Battalion The Border Regiment, 29th Division
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Near Vieux Berquin, France 11-12 April 1918

11-12 April 1918

More details about:
The First World War 1918 

As the German advance caused their Laventie salient to bulge westwards, 1st Battalion The Border Regiment, serving in 29th Division, was south of Bailleul. On 11 April 1918, the battalion withdrew through Le Doulieu and on the following day was near Vieux Berquin (see also 12-13 April 1918 below), before moving to Merris, east of Hazebrouck.

Citation

 For most conspicuous bravery whilst commanding his battalion during the heavy fighting. Through his quick judgment, resource, untiring energy and magnificent example, Lt.-Col. Forbes-Robertson on four separate occasions saved the line from breaking and averted a situation which might have had the most serious and far-reaching results. On the first occasion, when troops in front were falling back, he made a rapid reconnaissance on horse-back, in full view of the enemy, under heavy machine-gun and close range shell fire. He then organised and, still mounted, led a counter-attack which was completely successful in re-establishing our line. When his horse was shot under him he continued on foot. Later on the same day, when troops to the left of his line were giving way, he went to that flank and checked and steadied the line, inspiring confidence by his splendid coolness and disregard for personal danger. His horse was wounded three times and he was thrown five times. The following day, when the troops on both his flanks were forced to retire, he formed a post at battalion headquarters and with his battalion still held his ground, thereby covering the retreat of troops on his flanks. Under the heaviest fire this gallant officer fearlessly exposed himself when collecting parties, organising and encouraging. On a subsequent occasion, when troops were retiring on his left and the condition of things on his right was obscure, he again saved the situation by his magnificent example and cool judgment. Losing a second horse, he continued alone on foot until he had established a line to which his own troops could withdraw and so conform to the general situation. 

Third Supplement to The London Gazette of 21 May 1918. 22 May 1918, Numb. 30697, p. 6057

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