John Robarts VC

b. 1818 Chacewater, Cornwall. d. 17/10/1888 Southsea, Hampshire.

John Robarts (1818-1888) was born in Chacewater, Cornwall during 1818, and he joined the Royal Navy as a Boy Seaman in 1842 and served aboard HMS Wellesley where he was awarded the China Medal for taking part in that conflict.

John Robarts VC

In 1851, he transferred to HMS Ardent as a Gunner, having completed his gunnery course on HMS Excellent, and was soon on route to the Crimea. On 29th May 1855, in the Sea of Azov, Crimea, Gunner Robarts of HMS Ardent, volunteered alongside two Lieutenants, Cecil Buckley and Hugh Burgoyne, to land on a beach where the Russian Army were at strength. They were out of covering gunshot range of the ships offshore and met considerable enemy opposition, but managed to set fire to corn stores and ammunition dumps and destroy enemy equipment before embarking again.

Robarts was awarded the Victoria Cross alongside Buckley and Burgoyne on 24th February 1857, and was present at Hyde Park on 26th June that year, to receive his medal from Queen Victoria. Robarts’ naval career continued in 1860 on HMS Orion. In September 1861, he married Anne Emma Victoria Butts in Chelsea. She was three years younger than John and was from India. They went on to have three sons, John, Thomas and William Cecil.

Robarts then served on a number of ships, HMS Asia (1864-66), HMS Revenge (1868-69), HMS Royal Alfred (1869-71) and was promoted to Chief Gunner whilst on the Royal Alfred. He saw further service on board HMS Pembroke (1871-75) before leaving the sea and taking up several posts on shore in Portsmouth, Cornwall and London.

Robarts died of heart disease, aged 68, at his home, Providence House, 4 Park Lane, Southsea, Hampshire on 17th October 1888. Robarts was buried in Highland Road Cemetery, Portsmouth, where one of his pall bearers was Israel Harding VC. His medals are not publicly held.





Thomas Stewart – Image of the Robarts VC Grave at Highland Road Cemetery, Portsmouth.

Kevin Brazier – Cemetery Map.

Paul Barnett – Images of the Chacewater VC stone and information board.