Forbes in the Military

20th and 21st Centuries

 

From recorded Scottish history in the13th century, members of the House of Forbes have amply demnstrated their military prowess. The Forbeses were well represented in many crucial battles throughout Scottish history, including the 1332 Battle of Dupplin Moor, 1411 Battle of Harlaw, and the Jacobite Uprisings in 1689, 1715, and 1745. Forbeses have also achieved reecognition for their military leadership skills, such as with Brigadier General John Forbes (1707 - 1759) who commanded the expedition that resulted in the founding of Pittsburgh in the U.S.; Admiral John Forbes (1714 - 1796) who became Great Britain's Admiral of the Fleet; and Dame Katherine Jane Trefusis Forbes who becme the first director of the British Women's Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF). This tradition continues into the 20th and 21st century as we salute the Forbes in the Military.

NOTE: We are still updating this list. Please send your entries to ssgjgf@yahoo.com. Thanks! 

Edwin Alexander Forbes

U.S. California National Guard

Commander, various units;

Adjutant General

Years of Service:

1879 - 1915

Forbes is known as the Father of the California Cadet Corps. He also had the reputation of being a crack shot. As captain of the Marysville company in 1895, he broke the world record for target shooting in competition with 50 men.

Sir Charles Rosdew Forbes-Leith of Fyvie (né Burn), 1st Bt

British Army

Commander

Lieutenant-Colonel

Years of Service:

1888 - 1901

As Charles Burn, he served in the 8th Hussars and the 1st Dragoons, before he was transferred to the 3rd (Militia) Battalion of the Gordon Highlanders in 1899. He was seconded for service with the Imperial Yeomanry in South Africa in 1900. After the outbreak of the Second Boer War, he was in command of a Battalion. He later commanded the Westminster Dragoons.

Gordon Stewart Drummond Forbes

British Army

Major

Years of Service:

1896 (est.) - 1915 (death)

Forbes served in the 7th Battalion, King's Own Scottish Borderers. He died on 21 July 1915 at the Western Front. He received the Distinguished Service Order (DSO).

Bernard Arthur William Patrick Hastings Forbes, 8th Earl of Granard, KP, GCVO, PC

British Army

Commander

Lieutenant-Colonel

Years of Service:

1899 - 1908

The Earl He served with the 1st Battalion in the Second Boer War in South Africa from 1899 to 1902. He was promoted to lieutenant in 1901 and promoted to captain in 1905. In 1908 he was appointed Lieutenant-Colonel in the Post Office Rifles. In 1907 he was admitted to the Privy Council [and appointed Master of the Horse which he retained until 1915. Granard served as Vice-Admiral of Connaught, Lord Lieutenant of Longford, and he was made a Knight of the Order of St Patrick in 1909.

Atholl Laurence Cunyngham Forbes, 21st Lord Forbes

British Army

Commander

Major

Years of Service:

1905 - 1919

In 1905, at the age of 22, Forbes joined the 2nd Battalion Grenadier Guards, later becoming adjutant of the 3rd Battalion Grenadier Guards and then Regimental Adjutant. He was posted to the staff of Headquarters London District before joining the staff of XIV Corps in France. After recoverng from an illness in 1917, he was given command of the Reserve Battalion Grenadier Guards till 1919, when he resigned his commission with the rank of Major.

James Wallace Forbes, DSO

Canadian Army

Various

Lieutenant Colonel

Years of Service:

1908 - 1937

Forbes served in the 106th Regiment of the pre-war militia. As captain, he transferred to the 15th Battalion in 1908. He was wounded in action at Observatory Ridge in 1916 and Arras in 1918. He was awarded a DSO in 1917 for leadership in the field. Following the war, he returned to Manitoba and was appointed Demobilization Officer for Manitoba and Western Ontario. He is commemorated by Forbes Road in Winnipeg.

James Forbes-Robertson

British Army

Commander, 1st Battalion, Border Regiment (1916); Commander, 16th Battalion, Middlesex Regiment (1917)

Colonel

Years of Service:

1914 - 1918

He was the recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest award for gallantry.

Donald Brotchie Forbes

Canadian Army

Canadian Infantry (Alberta Regiment)

Lieutenant

Years of Service:

1914 - 1917 (death)

Forbes enlisted at Calgary, Canada, on November 16, 1914, and was killed in France on April 9, 1917.

James Forbes

British Armey

Royal Highland Regiment (Black Watch)

Private

Years of Service:

1914 - 1918

James Forbes of Doune, Perthshire, Scotland, was missing in action and a prisoner of war. After the war he returned to being a carpenter in Doune. He also played outside right on Scotland's junior football (soccer) team. (Submitted by David Forbes.)

Sir Charles Morton Forbes

British Royal Navy

Various, including Admiral of the Fleet

Admiral

Years of Service:

1914 - 1943

Forbes served in the First World War as Executive Officer on HMS Queen Elizabeth; Flag Commander on HMS Iron Duke; Flag Commander on HMS Revenge; and Commander of HMS Galatea. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Order in 1916. In World War II, Forbes served as Commander-in-Chief Home Fleet. He was promoted to Admiral of the Fleet in 1940 and advanced to Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath. His portrait is in the Britannia Royal Naval College.

Alexander Moore Forbes

Australian Army

Various

Brigadier

Years of Service:

1914 - 1946

Forbes graduated from the Royal Military College (RMC) in 1911 and in 1914 he was appointed as a lieutenant with the 6th Battery, 2nd Field Artillery Brigade. He served in Gallipoli until being evacuated in July 1915 suffering from dysentery. In Egypt he was promoted to the rank of captain and transferred to command the 102nd Battery of the 21st Howitzer Brigade. He earned him the Military Cross in 1916. Forbes was promoted to Major in January 1917 and was deployed with the 1st Division Headquarters and the 5th Division Headquarters. Forbes returned to the RMC as Adjutant from 1921 to 1922.

Amos Hilton Forbes

Canadian Mounted Rifles

9th Regiment

Private

Years of Service:

1915 - 1918

Forbes enlisted with the 9th Regiment Canadian Mounted Rifles in Saskatchewan in 1915, He was served in England and, in 1916, he transferred to the 1st Canadian Mounted Rifles in France. At the Battle of Mount Sorrel (June 2 -13 1916), Forbes was reported missing in action. Wounded and buried by a shell explosion in the field, he was taken a prisoner of war. Forbes was part of a prisoner exchange in September, 1917. He arrived back in Canada on October 25, 1917. He died on December 11, 1940.

Dame Katherine Jane Trefusis Forbes

Great Britain Women's Auxiliary Air Force

Director of the Women's Auxiliary Air Force

Second Lieutenant

Years of Service:

1916 - 1944

Dame Katherine Jane Trefusis Forbes, Lady Watson-Watt, DBE (1899 –1971) became the first director of the British Women's Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF) in 1939.

Melvin C. Furbish

U.S. Army

Calvary

Years of Service:

1917 - 1918

Overseas assignments: World War I, France and Germany. (Pictured on the left. Great Grandfather of Society Member Leslie Furbish.)

William Needham Forbes

U.S. Army

Sergeant

Years of Service:

1917 - 1919

World War I (Grandfather of Society Member Ann Forbes)

Neill C. Ogilvie-Forbes O.B.E

British Royal Air Force (RAF)

Pilot, Instructor, Squadron Leader, Wing Commander, Air Commodore

Air Vice Marshal

Years of Service:

1922 - 1952

Ogilvie-Forbes was a pilot and then instructor until he was selected to the Royal Canadian Air Forbes to oversee Canadian test flights in 1929. Ogilvie-Forbes transferred to the 13th Squadron in 1933 and was promoted to Squadron Leader in 1936. Ogilvie-Forbes headed the training of the Iraqi Air Force in 1939 and was promoted to Wing Commander that year. In 1945 he was appointed acting Air Commodore and assumed the position as the Air Attache to Brussels, Belgium. He was awarded the Order of the British Empire, Officer, in 1946 and promoted to Air Commodore in 1947.

Athol Stanhope Forbes

British Royal Air Forces

Flight Commander

Group Captain

Years of Service:

1935 - 1948

Forbes commanded the 66 Squadron. He was awarded the DFC in 1940 and the VM in 1940 for his services with 303 Squadron. He authored the book "Ten Fighter Boys" about his experiences as a pilot. He was awarded the OBE in 1944. His portrait is included in the Battl of Britain London Monument.

Nigel Ivan Forbes, 22nd Lord Forbes

British Army

Adjutant; Military Assistant to the High Commissioner for Palestine.

Major

Years of Service:

1938 - 1948

Forbes was commissioned In 1938 in the Grenadier Guards, serving in the 3rd Battalion in Northwest Europe till wounded in 1940. In 1941, he became Adjutant of the Training Battalion, and later the Holding Battalion, Grenadier Guards. In 1942 he was appointed Adjutant of the 6th Battalion Grenadier Guards, which was sent to the Middle East to join the 8th Army, and served with that Battalion till the end of the North African Campaign, after which he was on the staff of Headquarters XXX Corps for the invasion and capture of Sicily. In 1944, he joined the staff of Headquarters 5th Guards Armoured Brigade, taking part in the invasion of Northern France, later serving in the 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards till the end of the war in Europe. After the war, he attended the Staff College prior to going to Palestine as Military Assistant to the High Commissioner for Palestine.

John (Jack) Forbes

Canadian Navy

Queen's Own Rifles of Canada, R.C.I.C.

Warrant Officer Class II

Years of Service:

1940 - 1944 (death)

Enlisting with the Queen's Own Rifles of Canada in June 1940, Forbes gained promotion to warrant officer rank while in England. He had been overseas since July, 1941. Previously reported to missing in action in France, CSM Forbes was reportd as killed in action in Normandy.

Allan Patrick Forbes

Royal Canadian Air Force

Flight Lieutenant

Years of Service:

1941 (estimated) - 1944 (death)

Forbes was attached to the 103 Squadron and is buried in the Poznan Old Garrison Cemetery in Poland.

Thomas Benzie Forbes

British Royal Air Force

Pilot

Pilot Officer

Years of Service:

1941 - 1943 (death)

Pilot Thomas Forbes lost his life on July 3, 1943, flying the Lancaster LM328 GZ-F2 with the 12th Squadron.

William Clyde Forbes

Royal Canadian Air Force

Wireless Air Gunner

Warrant Officer II

Years of Service:

1941 - 1943 (death)

Forbes was attached to the 425 Squadron and died on March 3, 1943. He is buried in the Hamberg Cemetery in Germany.

Howard J. Forbes

U.S. Army

Special Operations

Sergeant

Years of Service:

1941 - 1944 (est.)

307th Composite Unit, popularly known as “Merrill’s Marauders,” Burma, World War II. (Uncle of Society Member Bart Forbes)

Frank Edward (Ted) Forbes

U.S. Navy

Seaman First Class

Years of Service:

1941 - 1944 (est.)

(Uncle of Society Member Bart Forbes)

John Gordon Forbes

Royal Canadian Air Force

419 Squadron

Flight Sergeant

Years of Service:

1941 est. - 1942 (death)

Forbes is buried in Yvelines, France.

Robert Ross Forbes

Australian Army

2/13th Australian Infantry Battalion

Private

Years of Service:

1942

Forbes was the son of William and Margaret Elizabeth Forbes, of Greenlaw, Berwickshire, Scotland. He emigrated to Australia, enlisted with the 2nd AIF and was killed at El Alamein, Egypt, in 1942. Forbes is commemorated on the Roll of Honour in Sydney NSW, also his name is located at panel 37 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial. He is recognised as one of the "Rats of Tobruk" (Submitted by Mary Forbes Mead)

Robert Wheeler Forbes

U.S. Army Air Force

Gunnery Instructor

Sergeant

Years of Service:

1942 - 1946

(Father of Society Member Bart Forbes)

Jean-Charles Forbes

Canadian Army

Lieutenant-Colonel

Years of Service:

1942 - 1965

Sir Jean-Charles "Charly" Forbes , RMWO , MID , CD, was a lieutenant and acting as commander of a mortar platoon when he participated in the Normandy landings inJune 1944 with the Maisonneuve Regiment by landing at Courseulles-sur-Mer. He participated in the liberation of Holland and was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Military Order of William , the highest honor in the Netherlands , by Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands in person. After World War II, Forbes joined Les Fusiliers du Saint-Laurent , then the 1st Battalion, Royal 22 Régiment (R22 e R) and in 1950, he participated in the Korean War with the 2nd battalion of R22 e R1. In 2005, he was inducted into the Salon des Croix de Victoria of the Cercle de la garrison de Québec, the Military Order of William being equivalent to the Victoria Cross.. In 2006, he received the medal of the National Assembly of Quebec. In 2007, he was decorated with the Knight's Cross of the National Order of the Legion of Honor , the highest French distinction , in recognition of his heroic conduct during World War II.

David R. Furbish

U.S. Army

Drill Sergeant

Staff Sergeant

Years of Service:

1943

Overseas assignments: World War II European Theater (Great uncle of Society Member Leslie Furbish)

Hugh Latrell Forbes

U.S. Army Air Force

Corporal

Years of Service:

1944

World War II (Father of Society Member Ann Forbes)

James Forbes

British Merchant Navy

Captain

Master Mariner

Years of Service:

1944 - 1964

In November 2016, France awarded Forbes the Legion d’Honeur at a special presentation in Birmingham. The honor comes more than 70 years after he took part in the epic D-Day landings which began the liberation of Europe.

Frederick Forbes

U.S. Army

Years of Service:

1950 (est.)

Overseas assignments: Korea War (Grandfather of Society Member Dorian Forbes)

Duane Forbes

U.S. Marine Corps

Infantryman

Years of Service:

1950 - 1953

Overseas assignments: U.S. Korean War (Uncle of Society Member: James G. Forbes II)

Arthur Jay (A.J.) Forbes

U.S. Army

Combat Engineer

Sergeant

Years of Service:

1955 - 1957

Overseas assignments: Germany (Uncle of Society Member James G. Forbes II)

Jerry Forbes

U.S. Air Force

Postman

Staff Sergeant

Years of Service:

1962 - 1966

Overseas assignments: Belgium (Uncle of Society Member James G. Forbes II)

James G. Forbes

U.S. Army

Infantryman

Staff Sergeant

Years of Service:

1963 - 1966

Overseas assignments: Germany (Father of Society Member James G. Forbes II)

David W. Furbish

U.S. Air Force

Mental Health Counselor

Sergeant

Years of Service:

1982 - 1988

(Cousin of Society Member Leslie Furbish)

Christopher D. Forbes

U.S. Army

Military Police

Private

Years of Service:

1986 - 1988

(Brother of Society Member James G. Forbes II)

Stacy W. Forbes

U.S. Marine Corps

Mortarman

Corporal

Years of Service:

1987 - 1991

Overseas Assignments: Operation Desert Shield/Storm (Society Member)

Eric J. Forbes

U.S. Marine Corps

Infantryman

Lance Corporal

Years of Service:

1989 - 1992

(Brother of Society Member James G. Forbes II)

James G. Forbes II

U.S. Army

Infantryman

Command Sergeant Major (retired)

Years of Service:

1993 - 2018

Overseas assignments: Iraq, Afghanistan and Germany (Society Member)

David Forbes

Royal Canadian Air Force

Various

Lieutenant-Colonel

Years of Service:

1997 - Current

After pilot training, Forbes served with 427 Special Operations Aviation Squadron in 2004. In 2010, he deployed in Canada’s Special Operations Task Force to Kandahar, Afghanistan. LCol Forbes was posted to 1 Wing HQ, Kingston, as the A5 Plans Officer, and then to 408 Tactical Helicopter Squadron first as the Operations Officer and later as a Flight Commander. In November 2013, he deployed to the Philippines on Operation RENAISSANCE-13. Following Command and Staff College, LCol Forbes spent one year working on the Strong-Secure-Engaged defense policy for the Chief of Force Development in Ottawa and two years as the Senior Staff Officer for Tactical Aviation at 1 Canadian Air Division Headquarters in Winnipeg.

Christopher W. Forrest

U.S. Army

Intelligence

Private Second Class

Years of Service:

2012 - 2016

Overseas assignments: Kosovo (Son of Society Member Leslie Furbish)

Tyler Purvis

U.S. Army National Guard

Infantryman

Specialist

Years of Service:

2015 - Current

(Step-Son of Society Member James G. Forbes II)

Blake Joseph Forbes

U.S. Army

Infantryman

Private Second Class

Years of Service:

2020 - Current

(Son of Society Member James G. Forbes II)

Danny Hugh Forbes

U.S. Army

Special Forces

Specialist

Years of Service:

Unknown

(Brother of Society Member Ann Forbes)

Charles Leslie Forbes

U.S. Marine Corps

Corporal

Years of Service:

Unknown

Forbes served In the Korean War. (Father of Teresa Forbes.)

Norman Ross Forbes

British Army

Years of Service:

Unknown

Forbes was born in Edinburgh, Scotland. During World War I, Forbes earned the 1915 Star, War medal, and Victory medal ribbons. After the war, he emigrated to Canada and later joined the Calgary police force. He died in 1968. (Submitted by Amber Kenney.)

Keith Owens

U.S. Army

Heavy Equipment Engineer

Specialist

Years of Service:

Unknown

(Society Member)

© 2020 Clan Forbes Society, Inc.

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