Family reunited with First World War soldier's medals

David Cobbold of Bury St Edmunds with the medals awarded to his great-great-grandfather, Lance Corporal Robert Maurice...

David Cobbold of Bury St Edmunds with the medals awarded to his great-great-grandfather, Lance Corporal Robert Maurice Williams, who died in the First World War - Credit: David Cobbold

A Suffolk family has been reunited with medals awarded to a soldier who died in the First World War.

David Cobbold, of Bury St Edmunds, said his family had been trying to track down the medals - awarded to his great-great-grandfather,  Lance-Corporal Robert Maurice Williams - for around 30 years.

The medals which were awarded to Lance-Corporal Robert Maurice Williams, who died in the First World War

The medals which were awarded to Lance-Corporal Robert Maurice Williams, who died in the First World War - Credit: David Cobbold

"We are very pleased to have them back," Mr Cobbold said. "It's quite emotional for us."

First World War hero L/Cpl Williams was born in the Battisford, near Stowmarket, and joined the Norfolk Regiment in Bournemouth.

He served on the Western Front from September 25, 1915, as a private, and was awarded the Military Medal, which was awarded to service personnel for "acts of gallantry and devotion to duty under fire". 

This memorial plaque says that Lance Corporal Robert Maurice Williams "died for freedom and honour"

This memorial plaque says that Lance Corporal Robert Maurice Williams "died for freedom and honour" - Credit: David Cobbold

Mr Cobbold, 25, said: "We know he must have done something very brave to be awarded the Military Medal, but we don't know the details."

During the war, L/Cpl Williams transferred to the 7th Battalion, Queen's Own Royal West Kent Regiment, and died of wounds on May 5, 1918, at the age of 30, just a few months before the Armistice on November 11. 

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He is buried in the St Sever Cemetery Extension at Rouen in France, where more than 8,000 service personnel were laid to rest. 

The medals which the family has now received include British War and Victory Medals and a memorial plaque, as well as his Military Medal and 1914-15 Star.

The family believes the medals were originally donated to a museum in Norfolk so they could be on public display.

However, it is thought they were later sold and it had not proved possible to track down their whereabouts.

The medals were recently offered for sale via a London auctioneer's website and Mr Cobbold's family put in a bid, paying  £750 plus fees, which brought the full price to above £1,000.

The family has now received the medals and will treasure them.

Mr Cobbold, who is a civilian instructor with Thetford Air Cadets, said: "I am very pleased that we have the medals back. It means a lot to our family.

"I do a bit of family history and am very much involved with the Air Cadets, so I am very interested in the military history." 


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