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Fred Roberts Victoria Cross Controversy



There was widespread approval throughout Waterford city when the corporation decided to grant the freedom of the city to Lord Roberts but the award was also controversial among what were called 'advanced ' nationalists. The mayor opf the city, Alderman Power received the following letter objecting to the honour being bestowed on a 'judicial murderer.' The following is the text of the letter. The letter contains a charge that, if true, is most damaging to Roberts' reputation. 

To                                                                              Dublin, September 2, 1893
Alderman Power                                                         5 Moore Street

    Some years ago the British Government in India sent a person with a French name into Afghanistan, although the natives object to have any White Resident in their country. When this British spy would not leave their country they killed him ,and 7 natives who were his servants. Then the Government sent Genl Roberts into the country to chastise these wild people. The Genl held some trials on the natives. The result was that some were found guilty and a batch of 200, and other lots of lesser numbers, were ordered to be tied together and have Inflammable Oil poured on and set fire to, which was duly done.

    And this is the man that Waterford is about to present the freedom of her city.

                                    I remain,
                                     Yours faithfully,
                                         Michl. Field

Source: Waterford City Archives, ref. no., P6/5


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