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Robert Cecil Hockley

Local History

Page updated - 17 March 2009

Roll of Honour - Gt. Cornard


Private Robert Cecil Hockley


8066 1st Battalion Norfolk Regiment. 


Robert Hockley was born in Croydon, Surrey in early 1893.  He was the son of James and Mary Hockley.  The family later moved to Great Cornard.


Robert enlisted in Stratford, Essex serving with the Norfolk Regiment.  He served in the same battalion as Edgar Bruce and Ernest Pilgrim.  Robert is recorded as having first served in a ‘theatre of war’ in France on 16th August 1914.  This indicates that he was already serving as a regular or was a reservist before the war and was part of the British Expeditionary Force later known as ‘The Old Contemptibles’.


‘The Old Contemptibles’ was the name proudly adopted by the men of the BEF (British Expeditionary Force) who saw active service up to 22nd November 1914. Their honorary title is said to have come from orders given by Kaiser Wilhelm II on 19th August 1914: “It is my Royal and Imperial Command you concentrate your energies, for the immediate present upon one single purpose, and that you address all your skill and all the valour of my soldiers to exterminate first the treacherous English; walk over General French’s contemptible little Army’.


The 1st Battalion was part of 15th Brigade, which formed part of the 5th Division, and when war was declared in August 1914 was stationed at Holywood near Belfast.  The 1st Battalion saw action at the battles of Mons (23rd August), Le Cateau (26th August), the Marne (7-10th September), the Aisne (12th-15th September) and La Bassée (10th October-2nd November – part of ‘the Race to the Sea’ a series of battles to prevent the enemy reaching the French coast).


Robert lost his life ten weeks after first landing in France.  He was killed in action on 27th October 1914 aged 21.  There is no known grave and he is remembered on Le Touret Memorial, France. 


Robert was awarded the 1914 Star and Clasp, which was given to those who served under fire between 5th August and 22nd/23rd November 1914, the British War Medal and Victory Medal.


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