In December 1916 the St Andrew’s, Oxshott, parish magazine recorded that:
All our readers will be glad to know that William Coombs [sic.], of the 7th East Surrey [Regiment], has been given the Military Medal for gallantry on the battlefield in France. We offer him our warmest congratulations, and are proud of home. William Coombs [sic.] is one of the four sons of Mr George Coombs [sic.] who are in the Army, and was one of the first to join up in August 1914. He has gained quite a reputation for shooting, and is one of the best marksmen in his Battalion.
In June 1918 it was noted that Private Coombes remained in France, and, in August 1918, that he was now a Brigade Sniper in the 9th East Surreys, having put in three years’ service at the Front. The author commented that, with a further three sons in the service, ‘the Coombs [sic.] family have certainly done their bit’.
The following month a correction was published, stating that in fact Mr and Mrs Coombes had five sons ‘in the Army’, not four as previously stated.
The five Coombes brothers were:
Frank Arthur, born 1892.
George, born 1895.
William Richard, born 1896.
Henry John, born 1898.
Arthur, born 1900.
St Andrew’s, Oxshott, Parish Magazines, December 1916, June 1918, August 1918, September 1918, SHC Ref. 8909/8/1/4.