MORBEY, Charles Frederick William

Captain, Charles Frederick William, MORBEY
Aged 28

7th Battalion, Suffolk Regiment
formerly No.12032,Private, 7th Battalion, Suffolk Regiment
Killed in Action on Thursday, 9th August 1917

Charles Frederick William Morbey was born on 26th August 1888 in Soham,(Newmarket Q4-1888 3B:514), baptised in Soham on 21st September 1888, son of Charles and 'Annie' Susannah Staples MORBEY (née JUGG), of "The Moat", Soham.

1891 census...Frederick aged 2 was at Moat House, Soham with his father Charles MORBEY [36] farmer, born Holmepierrepont Nottingham; his mother Annie [34]; sister Muriel [5] and brother Harold [ 9 months]. All except his father were born in Soham.

He was admitted to Soham Grammar school from private tuition at home with a governess, on 24th January 1898, aged 9 years 5 months. (source:- )

1901 census... He is not so far found in this census, perhaps at boarding school ? His parents were at The Moat, Soham with his sisters Muriel and Winifred M. [3] and brothers Harold [10] and Cyril E [8] the newcomers all born in Soham.

1911 census...Aged 22, a shipping clerk he was in joint occupation of 140 Wallwood Road, Leytonstone, London with Robert NORTH from Bromley, Kent.

In 1917 his father's address was "Beechurst", Soham.

He had 1 year in the Oundle School Officer Training Corps, and 1 year 239 days as a driver in Territorial London Air {?} Line Telegraph Co, Royal Engineers from 27th October 1908 to 26th June 1910. For his medical on 18th August 1914 he was aged 25,(22 years on some forms) 5 feet 7 inches (170.2 cm)tall, chest 33" to 36" (83.8 to 91.4 cm) and weighed 142 lbs (64.4 kg) and had lost the tip of his left forefinger.
At the time of his nomination for a commission (22nd October 1914), he was a Corporal in "B" Company, 7th Suffolks at Moore Barracks, Shornecliffe, Kent

He sustained a shrapnel wound to his right hand near Hulluch on 13th October 1915, and after an operation to remove the shrapnel in hospital at Le Havre, he was evacuated from Le Havre to Southampton on the "St David" on 17th and was admitted to No2. London General Hospital, St.Marks's, Chelsea on 18th October. Granted leave from 19th October to 18th December 1915.

On 12th March 1917 he was admitted to No.1 London General Hospital with a septic finger, incurred on 2nd March 1917 whilst instructing in wiring in France.

The 7th Suffolk were at Beaurains and on the 9th August 1917 were involved in a raid in the Monchy area which was quite successful, but Captain Morbey was killed on his own parapet after the raid, by fire from an enemy aircraft.

His personal effects forwarded to his father consisted of a wristwatch and strap.

Local press report:-
Capt. Charles Frederick Wm.Morbey, Suffolk Regt.,whose portrait we publish, was killed in action on Aug.9th,1917. He was born in 1888, and was educated at Oundle. His early days were spent in London, holding a responsible position with Sir Wm.Dunn and Co., Broad Street Avenue......He was the eldest son of Mr. and Mrs. Morbey, of Beechurst, Soham, by whom many expressions of sympathy and regret have been received in the loss of such a beloved son. He enlisted as a private at the outbreak of war, and gained his commission the following December. He was then sent to the front, and went through one engagement after another until he was wounded on October,1915, at the Battle of Loos. He was then invalided home, and remained in England until July,1916, when he again returned to France,since when he has been in the thickest of the fighting. His Colonel writes to the parents as follows:-
"It is with deep regret that I have to report the death of your son, Captain C.F.W.Morbey, Suffolk Regt.,who was killed in action on the evening of the 9th inst. (August). He had led his company 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. Please accept our deepest sympathy in your sad loss.He was buried in a little graveyard behind the line".
In a letter, also written to the parents, his Company Sergt.Major says:-"It is with the deepest regret that I have to inform you of my Captain's death. I was his Co.Sergt-Major, and a better Captain than he I shall never have. He was loved by all the men of his company, and I shall miss him terribly.I wanted to go with him, but he told me to stay in the trench. We have been in some hot - very hot - corners together, and I was ready to go into more if need be with him. He was a soldier and one of the best."
A memorial service to the late Captain was held at the Parish Church on Sunday, conducted by the Rev.H.T.Havard Jones, who made a fitting reference to the deceased. At the close of the service the Dead March was played, the whole congregation meanwhile standing."

photo: Rodney Gibson

Charles Morbey is buried in Monchy British Cemetery, grave 1:K:8
also commemorated on the Soham war memorial.

click here to go to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website for full cemetery/memorial details