Robert was born and schooled in Newcastle upon Tyne before going on to study at Durham University. He graduated with a B.A. in 1887, however he later returned to study medicine and graduated with an M.S. and M.B. in 1892. He won 2nd prize and an honour certificate in Surgery for the winter session 1891-1892.
Upon qualifying, Robert worked briefly in Newcastle before deciding to travel to Gaza with the Church Mission Society in the Spring of 1893. On his way, he stopped in Constantinople in order to gain a qualification allowing him to practice medicine in the Turkish Empire.
Over the next 22 years, Robert practiced across the Middle East, from Gaza and Palestine, through to Jordan and down into Egypt and Sinai. He published two books: 'A Grammar of the Arabic Language' and 'Arabic and English Idioms'. At the outbreak of the war, Robert was arrested and imprisoned in Jerusalem, though eventually made his way back to England in 1915 after his release was organised by the American consul.
Upon returning to England in 1915 aged 56, Robert entered into the Royal Army Medical Corps and was subsequently attached to the Border Regiment. His knowledge of the Middle East made him a valuable asset, and when the Army of Palestine was forming in 1917, Robert was sent to Egypt and attached to the Intelligence Department.
Robert travelled north to Gaza, but was struck with an illness that would eventually kill him. He returned to Egypt in June 1917, and back to England in August.
Robert died of his illness on the 16th October 1917.