Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 2°C

min temp: -1°C

ESTD 1874 Search

Maldon: Historian campaigns for recognition for hero a hundred years after he died during the First World war

16:00 17 January 2014

Ben Cobey with his pet dog.

Ben Cobey with his pet dog.

Archant

An Essex historian is hoping 2014 is the year a war hero from his town gets the recognition he deserves.

Stephen NunnStephen Nunn

After decades of research, Stephen Nunn, Maldon’s deputy mayor, has stepped up his campaign to see former resident Ben Cobey awarded a Victoria Cross 100 years after he died in action during the First World War.

He has written to the Queen and tweeted Prime Minister David Cameron about the case of Mr Cobey, who was killed at the Battle of Mons, in Belgium, in August 1914 at the age of 19.

Cobey, a driver with the 37th Howitzer Battery, Royal Field Artillery, was shot and killed rescuing a horse-drawn gun while under heavy fire.

The three other men on the mission survived and were later awarded the Victoria Cross but Cobey received no posthumous honour for his sacrifice.

To make matters worse, his mother was not informed of his death until nine months later and when Maldon’s War Memorial was unveiled in 1921 Cobey’s name was not listed.

He was also not mentioned in the Roll of Honour on the wall of the church opposite where he was born.

Mr Nunn, who is also a historical consultant for the Maldon district, feels a ”great injustice” has been done and in 2010 fought successfully with members of Cobey’s descendants to have his name put on the memorial. He says there are several possible reasons why Cobey was overlooked.

“He was born out of wedlock, which in those days was frowned upon, and the authorities at the time wanted only live heroes as a testament to their victory,” he said.

“This man is not a member of my family, he is a Maldon-born lad. But, as I have researched the incident, I feel a great injustice has been done and that it is time to put the record straight.”

With ceremonies to mark the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War due to take place later this year, Mr Nunn has garnered the support of his MP, John Whittingdale, and also written to the Veterans Minister and Minister for Defence stating his case.

Last week he received a reply from Buckingham Palace stating his request has been passed onto the Cabinet Office.

He added: “If Ben Cobey is ever going to be awarded a posthumous VC, then 2014 is the year it will happen. What a fantastic symbolic gesture – to award a brave soldier, who represents so many other unsung heroes, the medal he deserves a century after his death.”

0 comments

Stock image. Pic: David Davies/PA.

Ipswich will receive a share of a £60m school improvement scheme after being identified as a social mobility ‘coldspot’, the government is set to announce today.

Station Road in Trimley, close to where a lorry went into an electricity pole. Image: Peter Wiles

Paramedics, police and three fire engines are currently at the scene of a crash in Trimley St Mary.

The White Horse Inn in Stoke Ash. Image: Ross Harvey @ www.rossharveyweddings.com

Paramedics treated one person who became trapped inside their car after two cars crashed on the A140 in Stoke Ash this evening.

Police have sealed off Stone Street in Crowfield after concerns for the welfare of a man at a property in the village.

With the sun setting on the sleepy village of Crowfield this afternoon, you would hardly have known it was 18 hours in to an armed police stand-off.

The scene of a stand-off in Crowfield. Image: Glen Marney

A quiet Suffolk village is in lockdown this afternoon as a police stand-off which began at 11.15pm yesterday continues.

Burglary spike in December

A senior detective has warned residents to be vigilant after burglaries in Suffolk increased by 40% in December.

The Blooming Fuchsia at the junction of Fuchsia Lane and Foxhall Road, Ipswich, in the 1980s - Photo by Albert Gonzalez

Dozens of public houses have closed in Ipswich in recent years. The pace of losses has now slowed and many community pubs are run by volunteers. 
This week David Kindred looks back at the two in particular - The Old Bell, which stood at the junction of Stoke Street, Vernon Street and Bell Lane, and Blooming Fuchsia in Foxhall Road.

Most read

Great Days Out

cover

Click here to view
the Great Days Out
supplement

View

Most commented

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Streetlife

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

MyDate24 MyPhotos24