Pebody, Robert Baden. Died 16th Sep 1916

Sergt. Robert Baden Pebody
Service No. 206118
Regiment Machine Gun Corps (Heavy Branch) 4th “D” coy
Cemetery/Memorial Name A.I.F. Burial Ground, Flers
Grave/Reference III. J. 12

Robert Baden Pebody was born about 1896. In the census returns for both 1901 and 1911 Robert is living with his aunt and uncle John Thomas and Margaret Ann Pebody and he is 5 and then 15 years of age, giving his place of birth as Rugby Warwickshire, but no birth or baptism record can be traced and if Robert is adopted no evidence has been found, so we do not know his parents names. He, his aunt and uncle are at 58 Oxford Street Rugby in 1901 and at 50 Hillmorton Road Rugby in 1911 and John Thomas Pebody is an Overseer at the Post Office. Robert attended Lawrence Sheriff School from 1907 – 1912, unfortunately in 1914 Robert’s Aunt Margaret died.   I have not found when Robert enlisted, but he enlisted at Coventry, according to Daventry District Remembers, and Daventry Remembers give John Thomas and Margaret as his parents living at 58 Oxford Street Daventry, (same names as his aunt and uncle and similar address on the 1911 census only at Rugby). Also Daventry Remembers states that John Thomas is living at 24 Stephen Street Rugby at the time of Robert’s death.

Robert belongs to those who crewed the first tanks in September 1916.   On the Somme Roll of Honour it reads Robert Baden Pebody, Tank D14 Company, Died of Wounds the 16th September 1916, age 21. Rest in Peace. A.I.F Burial Ground Flers.   From the Military History Forum is the following:-

In memory of Sergeant Pebody. Sergeant Pebody was 2 i/c of tank D14 commanded by 2nd Lieutenant Gordon Court which had not been in action on the 15th September but was attached to 41st division for the second day of the attack on Flers. The objective was mainly the German held Gird Trench and Gird Support in front of Guedecourt. D14 was heading down what is now Grass Lane towards Guedecourt branching off and heading over a piece of higher ground when the tank was observed to come to a halt and then suddenly explode with a shattering roar. The tank was subsequently found to have been blown to bits and Lieutenant Court and 5 of the crew were killed in the fire, Sgt. Pebody and Lance corporal Upton Army Service Corps died of wounds. It seems likely that Sgt. Pebody and Lance Corporal Upton got out of the tank perhaps to examine what had halted the tank when a German Shell hit the tank itself. Lance Corporal Upton is also buried with Robert Pebody at A.I.F. Burial Ground whilst the other members of the crew of D14 have no known grave and are commemorated on the Thievpal Memorial.

Robert Baden Pebody is remembered on the Memorial Gates Rugby and on the War Memorial at Holy Cross Churchyard, Daventry on Abbey Street. I could not find any memoriam to him in any local newspapers, only that his uncle was informed of his death.

Robert is an enigma. His service number does not lead to any other records. The original grave registration entry was for Paberny Sergt. R. 16721 Machine Gun Corps altered in red ink to read “Pebody, 206118, 4T/C” printed cemetery registers volume state “4Bn Tank Corps” CWGC.



1 thought on “Pebody, Robert Baden. Died 16th Sep 1916

  1. Perhaps the Rugby Advertiser will help here eventually (or maybe Lawrence Sheriff School’s entrance records in their Archives). I had checked all of the birth registrations for a Robert Baden Somebody (lots of them because Robert Baden Powell was popular) without finding a reasonable match, and also looked at the possibility of an illegitimate birth but without being satisfied with an identification. I did not have the opportunity to pursue adoption records, however.


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