John Hamilton Roberts

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John Hamilton Roberts
John Hamilton Roberts
Nickname(s) "Ham"
Born 1891
Pipestone, Manitoba
Died 1962
Allegiance  Canada
Service/branch  Canadian Army
Years of service 1914–1945
Rank Major General
Commands held 2nd Canadian Infantry Division

World War I
World War II

Awards Companion of the Order of the Bath
Distinguished Service Order
Military Cross

John Hamilton "Ham" Roberts CB, DSO, MC (December 21, 1891 – 1962) was a Canadian artillery officer and major general.

Roberts was born in Pipestone, Manitoba. He studied in Upper Canada College and graduated from the Royal Military College of Canada in Kingston, Ontario in 1914, student #891.

From 1939, he commanded the 1st Regiment, Royal Canadian Horse Artillery in Northern France, and was served in that position when the Germans began the Battle of France in May 1940. Roberts managed to save his regiment's guns while evacuating from Dunkirk. He was later promoted to Major General and appointed General Officer Commanding the 2nd Canadian Infantry Division in 1941.

Roberts was put in charge of the ground troops for the raid against Dieppe, on August 19, 1942. His command post was aboard HMS Calpe and due to poor communications he had no idea how his troops were managing, until they called for landing craft for immediate evacuation. Roberts was criticized for unnecessarily committing his reserve troops (Les Fusiliers Mont-Royal) and inadvertently increasing the casualties. He was relieved of his command six months later.[1] It was Roberts's inept performance during a war-game codenamed Operation Spartan in March 1943 rather then the Dieppe raid, which ended Roberts's career.[2] General Harry Crerar reprimanded Roberts for the poor co-ordination between the 2nd Division's artillery and infantry during Operation Spartan war-games, and that Roberts failed to have forces dig in after seizing a bridgehead despite having ample time to do so.[3] After Operation Spartan, Roberts was judged unfit to hold a combat command. He was sent to command reinforcement units in the United Kingdom and received no further operational commands. He later retired to the Channel Islands.[4]

External links


  1. Neillands, Robin The Dieppe Raid
  2. English, John The Canadian Army and the Normandy Campaign: A Study of Failure in High Command, New York: Praeger, 1991 page 147.
  3. English, John The Canadian Army and the Normandy Campaign: A Study of Failure in High Command, New York: Praeger, 1991 page 147.
  4. CBC interview, Dieppe 2 h Anniversary, Dieppe miniseries DVD


  • 4237 Dr. Adrian Preston & Peter Dennis (Edited) "Swords and Covenants" Rowman And Littlefield, London. Croom Helm. 1976.
  • H16511 Dr. Richard Arthur Preston "To Serve Canada: A History of the Royal Military College of Canada" 1997 Toronto, University of Toronto Press, 1969.
  • H16511 Dr. Richard Arthur Preston "Canada's RMC - A History of Royal Military College" Second Edition 1982
  • H1877 R. Guy C. Smith (editor) "As You Were! Ex-Cadets Remember". In 2 Volumes. Volume I: 1876-1918. Volume II: 1919-1984. Royal Military College. [Kingston]. The R.M.C. Club of Canada. 1984