Anglo-Indian soldier and administrator
Born 1842 Died 1899
Colonel Sir Robert Warburton was the son of an artillery officer who had been taken prisoner at Kabul in 1842, and escaped through the good offices of an Afghan princess. He married this lady, and she transmitted to their son that power of exercising influence over the tribes of the north-west frontier which stood him in good stead during his long service in India.
Warburton entered the Royal Artillery in 1861, took part in the Abyssinian War of 1867-68, and then joined the Bengal Staff Corps. He served with distinction in the expedition against the Utman Khel in 1878 and in the Afghan War of 1878-80. Very soon after the British government had made permanent arrangements for keeping open the Khyber Pass, Warburton was appointed to take charge of it as political officer. This post he held, discharging its duties with conspicuous ability, between 1879 and 1882 with intervals of other duty, and continuously from 1882 until 1890.
He turned the rude levies which formed the Khyber Rifles into a fine corps, ready to serve the Indian government wherever they might be required. He made the road safe, kept the Afridis friendly, and won the thanks of the Punjab government, expressed in a special order upon his retirement, for his good work. When the Afridis began to cause anxiety in 1897, Colonel Warburton was asked by the government of India if he would assist in quieting the excitement amongst them. He declared himself ready to do so, but in the meantime the trouble had come to a head. Colonel Warburton took part in the campaign which followed; at its close his active career ended.
He occupied his leisure in retirement by writing his memoirs, Eighteen Years in the Khyber (1900). He died at Kensington on the 22nd of April 1899.
Being the entry for WARBURTON, COLONEL SIR ROBERT in the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica, the text of which lies within the public domain.