CWG: Private Albert Cobby

Private Albert Cobby

There are some mysteries that are just destined not to be solved, no matter how much digging you do. One gravestone in Worthing’s Broadwater Cemetery, dated 10th December 1916, proved to be one of those.

Research across the standard platforms revealed very little. There was no AEA Coby on Ancestry, the service number 9076 did not reveal anything on the Fold3 website. The name Coby did not feature in any contemporary newspaper article in December 1916 or January 1917.

One lead suggested that Private Coby’s first names are Albert Ernest, but again, this drew a blank. Another gave the surname with the spelling Cobby, and this seemed to fit better.

The birth of an Albert Ernest Cobby was registered in Sussex at the start of 1888, but the parents’ names are missing. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission website gives these as Alfred and Ellen Coby, but there is no concrete documentation to back this up.

The combination of Cobby and the service number did identify a military record on Fold3, but even here the information was limited. The document confirmed that Albert was nearly 29 when he enlisted in the Royal Sussex Regiment on 3rd December 1915, and that he was a motor cleaner in Worthing by trade. It gave his mother as Mrs A Cobby, but this does not fit with the Ellen suggested elsewhere.

Crucially, it confirmed that Private Cobby served on the home front for a matter of weeks – from 29th February 1916 to 4th May 1916. No reason is given for the end of his service.

Sadly, much of Private AEA Cobby’s life is destined to remain a mystery, with no definite links between the various pieces of evidence.

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