Soham Grammarians - Captain Charles Frederick William Morbey



CAPTAIN CHARLES FREDERICK WILLIAM MORBEY, of the Suffolk Regiment, who gave his life on the Battlefield of France on August 9th, 1917 was the eldest son of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Morbey, of Beechurst, Soham, Cambridgeshire, and was born at The Moat, Soham, on August 26th, 1888. He received his education at Oundle*, and was a good all-round athlete, being exceptionally keen on football, and was Captain, Treasurer, and some time Secretary of The Ilford Wanderers, and prior to August, 1914, he was holding a responsible position with Sir William Dunn and Company, Broad Street Avenue. This post he relinquished at the beginning of the present war and enlisted in the Army on August 20th, 1914, but was granted a commission the following October. He was then sent to the Front, where he went through several engagements, and was wounded in October, 1915, at the Battle of Loos, being invalided home and remaining in England until July, 1916, when he returned to France. He again took part in many severe engagements until he met his death, whilst returning from a successful raid on the enemy's trenches near Monchy.

In writing to express his sympathy, the Colonel said: -

"He had led his men in a successful raid in 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 devotion to duty. He was very popular with Officers and men, and we shall miss him greatly."

Another letter from the Co.Sergeant-Major contained this tribute:-

"I was his Co.Sergeant-Major, and 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."

Captain Morbey was buried in a little graveyard behind the lines, a solemn memorial service being held in honour of the gallant young soldier at the Soham Parish Church.

Captain Morbey's death was deeply mourned, not only by his relatives, but by many friends in Soham, where he was well known and exceedingly popular. He was of a most amiable disposition, kindness being one of his foremost qualities, and the warm appreciation of his comrades-in-arms was no surprise to those who had seen the manly promise of his boyhood.

His soldierly qualities were most pronounced, and on no single occasion did the men under his charge have cause to mistrust him. 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.

* the editor adds: at the age of 9 he was admitted to Soham Grammar School on 24th January 1898. His last place of school was recorded as 'Home with governess Soham'. His name appears on the Soham Town War Memorial and the Soham Grammar School WWI Memorial. In 1926 the Grammar School relocated to Charles family home, Beechurst, built by his father to which the family moved from The Moat in 1901.

Information and images via Mrs Ann Jarman, Captain Fritz Morbey's niece.
page last updated 12 Sep 2009