William Robertson (VC)

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William Robertson
Elandslaagte 1.jpg
The battle of Elandslaagte
Born(1865-02-27)27 February 1865
Dumfries, Scotland
Died6 December 1949(1949-12-06) (aged 84)
Edinburgh, Scotland
Portobello Cemetery
Allegiance United Kingdom
Service/branch British Army
Years of service1884 - 1920
UnitThe Gordon Highlanders

Lieutenant-Colonel William Robertson VC CBE (27 February 1865 – 6 December 1949) was a Scottish recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.


Robertson was 34 years old, and a sergeant-major in the 2nd Battalion, The Gordon Highlanders, British Army during the Second Boer War when the following action took place at the Battle of Elandslaagte for which he was awarded the VC.

At the Battle of Elandslaagte, on the 21st October, 1899, during the final advance on the enemy's position, this Warrant Officer led each successive rush, exposing himself fearlessly to the enemy's artillery and rifle fire to encourage the men. After the main position had been captured, he led a small party to seize the Boer camp. Though exposed to a deadly cross-fire from the enemy's rifles, he gallantly held on to the position captured, and continued to encourage the men until he was dangerously wounded in two places.[1]

Further information[edit]

The grave of Lt Col William Robertson VC, Portobello Cemetery, Edinburgh

Robertson was later commissioned into the Gordon Highlanders as a quartermaster with the rank of lieutenant. He was promoted captain in 1910, major in 1915, and lieutenant-colonel in 1917. In 1911 he is listed as "William Robertson VC", recruiting officer, living at 21 Lee Crescent in Portobello, Edinburgh.[2]

He retired in 1920. After his retirement he became honorary treasurer of the Royal British Legion Scotland.

He died at home on 6 December 1949. He is buried in Portobello Cemetery with his family. The grave lies against the eastern boundary wall.


He was married to Sarah Ferris (d.1950). Their children included William J Robertson (1892-1964) and Marion Robertson (1895-1971).[3]

The medal[edit]

His Victoria Cross is displayed at the National War Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh, Scotland.


  1. ^ "No. 27212". The London Gazette. 20 July 1900. p. 4509.
  2. ^ Edinburgh and Leith Post Office Directory 1911
  3. ^ Grave of William Robertson VC, Portobello Cemetery

External links[edit]