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Archibald Forbes

1838 - 1900

War correspondent and military historian. Born in Morayshire, the son of a clergyman, Forbes was educated at the University of Aberdeen. Thereafter he joined the army but was invalided out, settled in London and became a journalist. He was sent by the Morning Advertiser as a war correspondent to report on the Franco-Prussian War of 1870 and his reports from the front were well-received. Forbes went on to work for the Daily News, witnessing Bengal Famine (1874) and the British occupation of Cyprus (1878). He reported on the Russian-Turkish War (1877-8) and the British campaigns in Afghanistan (1878-80), South Africa (1879) and Burma (1885-7). In South Africa, he rode for a remarkable 15 hours to report the opening of the Anglo-Zulu War.

His many books include Glimpses through the Cannon-Smoke: A Series of Sketches (1880), The Afghan Wars 1839-42 and 1878-80 (1892), Czar and Sultan (1895), The Black Watch (1896), Camps, Quarters and Casual Places (1896), in addition to biographies of several notable military leaders Chinese Gordon (1884, of General Charles Gordon [1833-85]), William I of Germany (1888), Havelock (1891, of General Sir Henry Havelock [1795 - 1857]), Colin Campbell, Lord Clyde (1895) and The Life of Napoleon the Third (1898). Forbes was also a popular public speaker who attracted large audiences for lectures on his experiences.

Forbes died in London and was buried in Allenvale Cemetery, Aberdeen. He is remembered by plaques in St. Paul's Cathedral and the King's College Centre in Aberdeen.

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