The Coomber Brothers

Courtesy of the RH7 History Group, as part of their First World War exhibitions from 2014-2018

Written by Janet Bateson and Sue Quelch

Herbert, Richard Charles and Robert Sargent Coomber were the three youngest sons of 14 children of Edmund and Fanny Coomber.  Edmund and Fanny had seven daughters and seven sons.  In 1901 they owned Cernes Farm, Robert was a cowman on the farm.  The three youngest brothers were baptised on the same day at St John’s Church, Dormansland.  They all enlisted as regular soldiers and left England with the British Expeditionary Force in 1914.  They were all killed on the Western Front.

Private Henry Coomber enlisted as a Regular soldier in 1st Battalion, The Buffs (East Kent Regiment).  He died of wounds on 7 September 1917, age 38, and was buried in Bethune Town Cemetery.

Corporal Robert Sargent Coomber enlisted as a Regular soldier in 2nd Battalion, the Queen’s (Royal West Surrey Regiment) at Tonbridge in 1908.  He left England with the British Expeditionary Force on 4 October.  He was killed in action on 31 October 1914, aged 26.  He has no known grave; his name is inscribed on the Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres.  Dormansland village memorial incorrectly records his rank as ‘Sergeant’, probably in error as his second forename was Sargent.

Private Richard Charles Coomber enlisted as a Regular soldier in the 1st Battalion, the Queen’s (Royal West Surrey) Regiment in East Grinstead.  He too left England with the British Expeditionary Force on 4 October.  He died from wounds on 27 October 1914, aged 21, four days before the death of his brother Richard.  Richard is buried in Ypres Town Cemetery Extension.

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