Who was George Arthur Roberts?

A life well lived

This website was set up by the family of George Arthur Roberts to celebrate his life and legacy. Born in 1891 he came to the UK around 1914, fought in World War I and was a founder member of the League of Coloured Peoples in 1931. He was the first black man to join the Auxiliary Fire Service in 1938 and received the British Empire Medal for his work setting up discussion groups within the fire service in 1944. As interest in his life has grown, his family continue to honour his memory and disseminate his work as widely as possible.


Norman Hepple's portrait of George Arthur Roberts
dated July 1941.


Welcome to the Life and Legacy of George Arthur Roberts

A website created by his family
to commemorate his life and work

News and details of events commemorating the life and work of George Arthur Roberts

George Arthur Roberts to feature in the Imperial War Museum’s Home Front galleries in 2020. 

The Imperial War Museum are preparing to feature George Arthur Roberts in their new Home Front gallery in 2020. Great grandaughter Samantha Harding took along a photograph shown in this picture being captured by Leanne at the IWM in preparation for the gallery. Watch this space for further info on the opening in 2020. 

George Arthur Roberts honoured during
The Festival of Remembrance
Royal Albert Hall 2018

On November 10th 2018 Great granddaughter Samantha Harding appeared at the Festival of Remembrance with other descendants of World War I veterans to honour the memory of WWI veterans 100 years after the conflict ended. While cellist  Sheku Kanneh-Mason played Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah the 60 descendants formed a circle in the Hall while members of the audience held pictures of deceased veterans aloft in a poignant moment of remembrance. Watch it on YouTube here https://youtu.be/2iUb4l2tFvk

The unveiling of a red plaque to George Arthur Roberts in 2018

In April 2018 the London Fire Brigade gathered to honour George Arthur Roberts for his work with the Auxiliary Fire Service during World War II. He is recorded as the first black man to join the service in 1938. Fiona Twycross representing the Mayor of London, Dany Cotton commissioner of the London Fire Service, Mick Nicholas MBE of the Fire Brigade Union and members of the family were present to unveil the plaque. It is the second plaque honouring Roberts’s achievements for his life and work. Watch film of the ceremony here: https://youtu.be/7-y3hSzC6NU (With thanks to Kevin Goggin)



Unveiling of Blue Plaque in memory
of George Arthur Roberts

September 11th 2016

In September 2016 local historian Stephen Bourne nominated George Arthur Roberts for a blue plaque commemorating his life through an annual competition run by The Southwark News newspaper. 

     The Mayor of Southwark, along with the Acting High Commissioner of Trinidad and Tobago were present along with local MPs Neil Coyle, Helen Hayes and Harriet Harman and members of the London fire Service.  Watch films of the ceremony here: https://youtu.be/VcHlX1Slo64 (with thanks to Wood Green Films) and https://youtu.be/h7TMF68z-tI (with thanks to Kevin Goggin)

Welcome to our website

Thank you for visiting our website.  My name is Samantha Harding and I am the great granddaughter of George Arthur Roberts.

      I am hoping that this website will become a point at which we in the family can share all we know about George Arthur Roberts and receive information from anyone who remembers him and wants to contribute memories, writings, impressions or historical records that could help us all find out more about him and his life. 

       We also hope that if there are any events, talks or other landmarks we can publicise these events here. 

       As this website developes, we will be looking to add more content by Roberts himself as well as by and about other family members.

We hope you enjoy this website.

Samantha Harding

Do you have any memories of George Arthur Roberts? Are you holding a special event around his life? Do you need a family member to attend your event? Please contact us and we can try to assist you and feature your news on this website (Please use the contact form below)

London, UK



©2019 the family of George Arthur Roberts.