He was commissioned into the York and Lancaster Regiment in 1884, and saw service in the Second Boer War, commanding the Rhodesia Regiment, where he was wounded in action. In 1911 he was appointed to command of 14th Infantry Brigade, in 5th Division. When the First World War broke out in July 1914, he took it to France as part of the British Expeditionary Force.
14th Brigade saw heavy action in the early stages of the war, being almost constantly engaged in combat for two months.
In October, he was recalled from command on the grounds of exhaustion – though the corps commander was at pains to note that no stigma was to be placed on this move, and that he had in no way failed. He did not receive a new field command, but was instead became Commandant of the Royal Military College Sandhurst until August 1916, when he was appointed to command 170th Brigade in the 57th Division, a position he held until it was sent overseas.
He retired in December 1918. Stuart Peter Rolt married Evelyn Roylance Court, daughter of William Roylance Court and Mary Carlaw Walker, in 1912.