Born on the 14th January 1884 at home in Duntrune Terrace, Broughty Ferry, Dundee, Scotland to Agnes and Robert Blackadder (a civil engineer), Robert John Blackadder Graduated at University College, Dundee in 1903.
He worked as an account before travelling to London where he enlisted into the Army, joining the Queen’s Westminster Rifles as a Rifleman, or private soldier, in 1906. In 1908 he transferred to the 3rd County of London Yeomanry, a volunteer cavalry unit before again transferring in 1910 to the Punjab Light Horse and moving to India. He subsequently left the Armed Services in 1911, returning to England where he resumed working as a Chartered Accountant in London.
Shortly after the outbreak of World War 1, Blackadder re-enlisted, joining the 16th Battalion of the County of London Regiment. He was wounded by shrapnel on 5th July 1915 and a month later, on 18th August 1915 having been previously promoted to Lance Corporal, Blackadder was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant into the North Scottish Royal Garrison Artillery. He was recommended for the commission by William Henderson, Chairman of the City of Dundee Territorial Force Association.
Blackadder saw action at some of the most significant battles of the First World War including Ypres and the Somme where he recorded the following in his diary:
“Very wet weather still continues and trouble with guns on the soft ground. The three guns do the work of the battery and keep up the fire well. No. 4 out of action owing to glands leaking, so right section did all the firing which was still fairly heavy every day. No. 1 gun was out of action for twelve hours after firing 65 rounds in an hour. No.4 gun was dismantled and owing to heavy rains the pit again flooded axle deep. Dugouts both at battery and bullets falling in and all looked somewhat hopeless in the water and mud.”
Blackadder was present during the Spring Offensive and the 1918 Battle of the Somme where he was awarded the Military Cross as an Acting Captain with the 151st Siege Battery of the Royal Garrison Artillery. The citation reads ‘The Military Cross awarded to Lieutenant (Acting Captain) Robert John Blackadder, RGA, for conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty at Beaurains, on 18th March 1918. During the withdrawal of the battery, the enemy commenced a heavy bombardment of the battery position and the successful withdrawal of all the guns and stores was largely due to his energy, coolness and resource.
Blackadder survived the war and was demobilised on 28th June 1919
He sadly died in Surrey, June 1968.