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Robert Mansfield

Local History

Page updated - 17 March 2009

Roll of Honour - Gt. Cornard

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Sergeant Robert Mansfield

 Thiepval

18601  9th Battalion Essex Regiment (Believed to be)

 

Robert Mansfield was born around 1877, the second son of Robert and Lucy Mansfield (formerly Kay).  His father was a Police Officer in Sudbury and the family lived at one time at 9 Gregory Street before moving to Dobbs Hill.  Robert had 4 brothers, 5 sisters and a half brother from his mother’s first marriage.

 

At the age of 14 Robert was employed at a shoe maker but it is believed that he enlisted in the regular army and served in India with the Essex Regiment.  His younger brothers John and Thomas also saw active service: John served with the Suffolk Regiment and was at sometime a prisoner-of-war; Thomas was a Territorial before the outbreak of war and served with the Royal Engineers.  He was awarded the Military Medal, the Belgian Medal and the Croix de Guerre. 

 

Robert’s father later moved to Great Cornard, after the war he served on the Parish Council.  It was reported that he was one of two people who preferred a Memorial Hall to a Cross of Sacrifice to be erected as a War Memorial to the village’s fallen.  Robert’s name does not appear on the original Roll of Honour completed in September 1917; this could be because his father had not yet moved to the village.  In March 1918 a report of Thomas Mansfield’s award of the Croix de Guerre in the Suffolk and Essex Free Press mentions that Mr. Mansfield of Great Cornard had ‘a son killed and another as a prisoner-of-war’.

 

It is believed that Robert was killed in action on 3rd July 1916 during the First Battle of the Somme.  The First Battle of the Somme was a series of 12 battles over 141 days from 1st July 1916 to 18th November 1916. 

 

There is no known grave and he is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial, Somme, France.  The Thiepval Memorial bears the names of 72,089 casualties who lost their lives in the Somme sector and who have no known grave.

 

A Cross of Remembrance was laid at the Thiepval Memorial on 16th April 2006.

 

Photo - Shirley Smith

©Shirley Smith - Sudbury & District Royal British Legion - November 2008