Charles Frederick William Moreby 9 August 1917

Charles Frederick William Morbey of the 7th Battalion Suffolk Regiment was born in 1888 in Soham, Cambridgeshire. He was the eldest son of another Charles Morbey, who made his fortune in Horse Racing. In 1901, he built a very substantial home called Beechurst House in Soham, and he also owned Brandon Hall in Suffolk. He was well connected and joined shooting parties with the Royal Family at Sandringham.

The younger Charles Morbey resided in Sidney House from May 1903 until Dec 1905. He was a pretty good sportsman at House level but was beaten in the Junior Fives first round by John Thimbleby, who was later killed in a motor-cycle accident in August 1915. During his time at Oundle, Charles Morbey  won  prizes for History and Maths. Before Oundle, he attended Soham Grammar School from September 1898 and his name is recorded on the Memorial there.

By 1911, he was a shipping clerk living in Leytonstone and working for Sir William Dunn and Company of London. He was always interested in association football and before the War, he was Captain and Treasurer of Ilford Wanderers. He enlisted on 20th August 1914 and gained a commission in October of that year. He went out to France in 1915 and was wounded at Loos in October and returned to England to convalesce. He returned to France in July 1916. Rising to the rank of Captain, when he was killed by an enemy aircraft on 9th August 1917, after returning from a successful raid on German trenches near Monchy, aged 28. He was buried at Monchy-le-Preux cemetery near Arras.

His Colonel wrote: “He had led his men in a successful raid on the enemy’s trenches, and was returning to our front line carrying a captured machine gun, when he was hit; and he died a few minutes afterwards in our trench. He was a splendid Officer, full of courage and devoted to duty. He was very popular with officers and men, and we shall miss him greatly.”
His Company Sergeant-Major paid him this tribute: “A better Captain, I shall never have. He was loved by all the men of his Company and I miss him terribly. He was a soldier – one of the best.”

At his old school in Soham, the following tribute was written: “His lion-hearted courage and pride of race carried him on to the supreme end; a gallant English gentleman, he died that the England he loved so well might rise triumphant over an unscrupulous foe.”

C Pendrill
Yarrow Fellow