My plea to Queen to honour war hero

Essex County Standard: Stephen Nunn Stephen Nunn

A HISTORIAN has written to the Queen and Prime Minister in a bid to win recognition for a dead war hero.

Stephen Nunn hopes to secure a posthumous Victoria Cross for teenager Ben Cobey, killed in action in the Battle of Mons, in Belgium, in August 1914.

He was one of four horse-mounted soldiers who were pulling guns away from the battle line, having been ordered to retreat after 12 hours of fighting German forces.

Ben, a driver in the 37th Howitzer Battery of the Royal Field Artillery, 8th Brigade, was 19. The other three survived and were awarded the Victoria Cross, the country’s highest military decoration for valour.

But Ben, from Maldon, was missed out, despite a campaign by family, because the Government did not want dead heroes. His name was also left off the Maldon war memorial until 2011 when it was added after efforts by Mr Nunn, Maldon Town Council the Royal British Legion and the Rotary Club of Maldon.

Mr Nunn, who discovered Ben’s story while researching his book on the First World War, said: “I like a challenge and Maldon MP John Whittingdale is up for it.

“I have had no response from the Government and have written to the Queen.’’ Mr Nunn added: “It would be unbelievable if we actually got the VC, because, normally, that doesn’t happen posthumously. I just hope they acknowledge Ben did as much as those three men who got the VC.

“It would be fantastic if we could get the award for him, but they are like gold dust.”

He said even if that failed, any official recognition of Ben’s bravery would be welcome.

Mr Nunn has tweeted PM David Cameron and written to Defence Secretary Philip Hammond, Anna Soubry, Minister for Defence Personnel, Welfare and Veterans, and Lord Ashcroft, who collects Victoria Crosses. After receiving no response, Mr Nunn wrote to the Queen.

By NATASHA AGOMBAR natasha.agombar@nqe.com

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