Overcast

Overcast

max temp: 21°C

min temp: 11°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.

shares
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.”

shares

0 comments

Seth and Eliza Gaw loved Latitude but planning was key, says dad Matt Gaw

With the mounting costs of family holidays, events like Latitude can be a genuine alternative to a traditional bucket and spade break.

The coffin of Stuart Cullen is carried from the RAF C-17 at RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire.

The body of Suffolk man Stuart Cullen, one of 38 people killed in the Tunisian terror attack, has been returned to Britain today.

The incident happened on the A12

A lane on the A12 at the Foxhall roundabout near Martlesham was blocked following a three-vehicle crash.

Bolts of lightning during the storms above Ipswich in the early hours of Saturday, pictured by Tina Boniface

Fierce lightning storms swept over Suffolk and Essex last night.

John McGuire

A 25-year-old man who went missing from a mental health unit in Colchester has been found safe and well.

Abellio Greater Anglia

Train services have returned to normal between Ipswich and Felixstowe this evening following problems caused by a broken down train.

A broken down train has blocked the Marks Tey to Sudbury route

A broken down train has forced services between Sudbury and Marks Tey to be suspended – with delays expected for the rest of the day.

National Lottery winners pictured helping out on a build at Black Notley Community Association in Braintree, Essex. Pictured are the team working hard in the sunshine to complete the job.

Lottery winners with a combined worth of £25million mucked in to help create a holiday haven in Black Notley.

Hundreds of families gathered at Portman Road to watch the outdoor screening of Frozen.

Portman Road was transformed to a world of snowflakes and ice despite the 26C (78.8F) sunshine this morning.

Suffolk county councillor Lisa Chambers

More than 90% of parents in Suffolk have had their first-choice places accepted for their children starting school this September, it has been revealed.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages