MOBBS, Lieutenant Colonel, EDGAR ROBERTS, D S O, 7th Bn. Northamptonshire Regiment. Killed in action at Zillebeke 31st July 1917. Age 37. Son of Oliver L. and Elizabeth Anne Mobbs, of Northampton. Former England International Rugby Football player. Menin Gate, panel 43.
Edgar was born at home on Thursday 29th June 1882, third son of Oliver and Elizabeth Anne Mobbs, of Northampton. He had elder brothers, Arthur and Herbert, and two younger twin sisters Elsie and Olive and brother Charles. Edgar was educated at Bedford Modern School from 1892 to 1898 where he played rugby, hockey and cricket. Following his education he studied chartered accountancy and then was a manager of a motor garage.
Edgard started playing rugby seriously in 1904 as a three-quarter, and became Captain of Northampton Rugby Club for six years and Captain of the East Midlands team. Edgar also played for the Barbarians and was an England international. He captained the team succesfully against the French. At the end of his playing career he was elected a Member of the Committee of the English Rugby Union.
Edgar wished to assist with the war effort and gained permission to raise a company and organised various sporting events to raise funds for his troops. He succesfully recruited more than 250 men within 2 weeks. He joind them as a Private but was soon commissioned as a Captain and in May 1917 promoted to Lieutenant Colonel.
His battalion first saw action at the Battle of Loos and when Captain Colonel Parkin was killed in action Edgar took command. On Thursday 17 August 1916 the Battalion was preparing for on attack on Guillemont and just before zero hour Edgar was severly wounded by a shell splinter and had to leave the field.
In the spring of 1917 he was fighting with the Canadians on Vimy Ridge where he was twice wounded by shellfire but on Tuesday 26 June he was able to rejoin his troops. Edgar went up to the Ypres Salient and was attacking 'Shrewsbury Forest' on Tuesday 31st July 1917, part of the Third Battle of Ypres.
The Battalion was held up by a machine gun at a strong point known as 'Lower Star Post', and Edgar made a frontal attack armed with bombs and accompanied by his runner. In this action he was shot and last seen falling into s shell hole: "Such was his heroic devotion to duty that even when so seriously wounded that he had only ten minutes tot live he wrote out map references of the position of the guns which were checking any advance.
In the Memorial Guarden, Abingdon Square Northampton, a statue was raised in his memory. On the front face is a bust of Edgar Mobbs with a wreath behind his head. On the left side is a relief panel depicting a rugby match, and on the right a battlefield scene. The inscription reads: "In memory of Edgar R. Mobbs, D.S.O. Erected by subscriptions of admirers the world over to the memory of a great and gallant soldier sportsman when the Great War broke out he founed 'Mobbs Company'. Joined as a private and rose to command the battalion to which he belonged. He did hiis duty even unto death.
Citation for the Distinguished Service Order, London Gazette, Monday 1st January 1917: "War Office, 1 Jan. 1917. His Majesty the King has been graciously pleased to approve of the undermentioned rewards for distinguished service in the field
". His name is listed below.
See also "Edgar Mobbs: Events mark Passchendaele hero's death
Source: App of the Last Post Association