Maldon, Essex: The Soldier Denied an Honourable Memory
Ben Cobey was killed at Mons in August 1914 while saving a gun position with his colleagues, but his name was excluded from Maldon’s war memorials because he was born out of wedlock. His colleagues received Victoria Cross’ for their actions, but Ben missed out on that as well because of his controversial (for the time) parentage.
Born at 39 Church Street, Maldon, opposite St Mary The Virgin church, Benjamin George Cobey had no named father. His mother, Maria Anne Cobey, was unmarried when she gave birth to him. He was excluded from St Mary The Virgin’s war memorial as “his sort” were not welcome by the church.
His name was eventually added to the other memorial in Maldon but it remains excluded from the one in St Mary The Virgin. He also never received a posthumous Victoria Cross, despite a long-running campaign by his family.
Location: Church Street, Maldon, Essex CM9 5HW
Image of Ben Cobey of 39 Church Street, Maldon
Photograph courtesy of Stephen Nunn