If only he had been listened to...

Lord Frederick Roberts VC.

Lord Frederick Roberts VC.

Saint Roger's halo didn't slip when he gave me interview

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Many people are honoured for services to their country and it is up to someone to write some flattering words about the person involved.

This time a century ago we were in the third year of what was to become known as The Great War, but if one man had been listened to it may not have happened.

In 1898 Lord Frederick Roberts VC was given the Freedom of the Borough of Portsmouth (nowadays the Freedom of the City).

It was said that never was an honour more richly deserved. His love of his country was a passion and his constant thoughts were devoted to its welfare. He fought in many of the Victorian wars including South Africa and Afghanistan and he introduced the Short Lee Enfield rifle to the army.

In 1912 he warned of the advance in the German war industry and said that if Britain just stood still and did nothing the rise of Germany was a surety.

‘Fellow Britishers and fellows of this great Empire, arm yourself and be prepared to acquit yourselves like men, for the day of your ordeal is at hand,’ he said. Had his warning been heeded, the First World War might never have happened.

He died in 1914 and had the honour of lying in state in Westminster Hall, London. The only other non-royal to do so was Sir Winston Churchill.

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