Brian Robertson, 1st Baron Robertson of Oakridge

The Lord Robertson of Oakridge

General Sir Brian Robertson in 1949
Born (1896-07-22)22 July 1896
Died 29 April 1974(1974-04-29) (aged 77)
Allegiance  United Kingdom
 Union of South Africa
Service/branch  British Army
Years of service 1914–1934
Rank General
Unit Royal Engineers
Commands held Allied Control Council
Middle East Land Forces
Battles/wars World War I
World War II
Awards Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath
Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire
Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George
Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order
Distinguished Service Order
Military Cross
Mentioned in dispatches
Other work Chairman of the British Transport Commission (1953–61)

General Brian Hubert Robertson, 1st Baron Robertson of Oakridge Bt GCB GBE KCMG KCVO DSO MC DL (22 July 1896 – 29 April 1974), known as Sir Brian Robertson, 2nd Baronet from 1933 to 1961, was a senior British Army officer and the Chairman of the British Transport Commission from 1953 to 1961.

Military career

Robertson was the eldest son of Field Marshal Sir William Robertson and his wife Mildred Adelaide (née Palin), and was educated at Charterhouse and the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich. He was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Royal Engineers in November 1914 and was promoted to lieutenant in December 1915.[1][2] He was promoted to captain in November 1917. He served in France and Italy during World War I, was awarded a Military Cross (MC) in 1918 and was thrice mentioned in despatches.

After the war he served with the Bengal Sappers and Miners from 1920 to 1925 and took part in the Waziristan expedition of 1923 to 1924.[3] After further training, Robertson joined the War Office in Military Intelligence. He was promoted to major in January 1930. Following his father's death in February 1933, he succeeded him in his baronetcy and retired from the Army in early 1934. He became the Managing Director of Dunlop South Africa Ltd in 1935.[3]

With the outbreak of World War II Robertson re-entered military service in 1940 as a temporary lieutenant colonel in the South African Army, and served in East and North Africa, and Italy until the end of the war, notably as Harold Alexander's Chief Administration Officer in Italy. He was promoted to brigadier by 1942 with the temporary rank of major general from 1944 to 1945.[3] Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery thought Robertson was the best chief of administration in the British Army.[4] He was restored to the Active List in 1945 as a substantive major general and quickly rose through the ranks, becoming a lieutenant general in 1946 and a full general in 1947.

From 1945 Robertson was the Deputy Military Governor and from 1947 the Military Governor and British member of the Allied Control Council for Germany.[3] He went on to be Commander-in-Chief of Middle East Land Forces[5] and Governor of the Suez Canal Zone in 1950; he retired in 1953.[3] He was also Colonel Commandant of the Royal Engineers from 1950 to 1953.


In 1953 he retired from military service for the second time and on his return to Britain he became Chairman of the British Transport Commission, a post he held until 1961 (and was succeeded by Dr Richard Beeching). Robertson was also an aide-de-camp to King George VI from 1949 to 1952. In 1961 he was raised to the Peerage as Baron Robertson of Oakridge, of Oakridge in the County of Gloucester.


Lord Robertson of Oakridge married Edith Christina, daughter of James Black Macindoe, in 1926. He died in April 1974, aged 77, and was succeeded in his titles by his son William. Lady Robertson of Oakridge died in 1984.

Honours and awards

BR Western Region Class 42 locomotive no. D800 (new in 1958) was named Sir Brian Robertson.[6]


  1. The London Gazette: no. 28976. p. 9384. 13 November 1914. Retrieved 26 September 2015.
  2. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 29411. p. 12778. 21 December 1915. Retrieved 26 September 2015.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives
  4. Hamilton, Nigel (1983). Master of the Battlefield Monty's War Years 1942–1944. McGraw-Hill Book Company. p. 73.
  5. Middle East Strategy
  6. Marsden, Colin J. (November 1984). BR Locomotive Numbering. Shepperton: Ian Allan. p. 54. ISBN 0-7110-1445-0. EX/1184.

External links

Military offices
Preceded by
Sir John Crocker
C-in-C Middle East Land Forces
Succeeded by
Sir Cameron Nicholson
Government offices
New office
Following breakdown of
Allied Control Council
British High Commissioner
at Allied High Commission

for Occupied Germany

Succeeded by
Sir Ivone Kirkpatrick
as British High Commissioner to Germany
Baronetage of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
William Robertson
(of Beaconsfield)
Succeeded by
William Robertson
Peerage of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
New creation
Baron Robertson of Oakridge
Succeeded by
William Robertson
Business positions
Preceded by
Sir Cyril Hurcomb
Chairman of the British Transport Commission
Succeeded by
Dr Richard Beeching
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