STERLING NEVILLE COBBOLD ( Cobbie) DSC RN RAN
1895 - 1975
A long but very interesting life, serving in two World Wars, company manager for thirty years, two marriages and three children Most of his adult life was spent in Australia, although he never lost his abiding affection for the “ mother country” and its institutions.
Born in the last decade of the Victorian era to his Solicitor father, Alfred Townshend Cobbold OBE and mother, Alice Bessie Nunn. Mus. Bac; his two brothers and five sisters made up the family of eight children living at Bramford House, near Ipswich,Suffolk.
We know little of his early life except one brother, Rowland Townshend Cobbold, was killed in the second World War ( 1915).Fishing and shooting were favourite activities.
He was accepted for admission to the Royal Naval College of Osborne for two years when thirteen years old , followed by a further two years at the Royal Naval College Dartmouth.
His naval record is documented:-
1912 HMS Cornwall ( Training Cruiser)
1915 to to 1915 HMS Lion ( Battle Cruiser) Rank Midshipman/ Sub Lt.
End 1915 to early 1916 HMTB Number 36 Rank Sub Lt.
He played a part in the Battle of Jutland ( 31 May 1916) aboard the destroyer MMS Ariel as a Sub Lt.and the records state “ prize bounty for Jutland paid”.
1916 to 1917 HMS Ariel which was officially credited with the sinking of German UBoat 29 on 6 Dec 1916 and as a result, Neville was awarded the DSC.
1917 HMS Trenchant ( Destroyer) Rank Lt.
1917 to 1918 HMS Urchin ( Destroyer)
A letter from the Admiralty dated 25 Jan.1919 approved of, and accepted, his resignation from the RN effective from 21 Jan.1919.
He started a new life in Australia in the 1920s working as a Jackaroo on a sheep station in outback Queensland. This was probably one of the pastoral properties owned by a cousin Frank Cobbold.He must have returned to England after 1931 because a british passport was issued 16 Oct 1936 for his return to Australia arriving at Freemantle 4 dec 1936. Before his marriage to Eva Agnes Brutnall he was District Commissioner SE Brisbane district of the Boy Scouts Association and before this was Sea Scoutmaster of the Sea Scouts Depot Group in Brisbane.
It was only a matter of days from the outbreak of WW2 that he volunteered in Sept. 1939 to join up.This was at a time when he was the father of a very young son, soon to have a second son and manager of the British Medical Agency ( now known as the Australian Medical Agency) in Brisbane.In May 1940 he was appointed Lt. Cdr. in the Naval Reserve. We don’t know if he was aware of what was to happen, because he was posted to Darwin 3,500 km from Brisbane where he served from May 1940 to April 1942. It is an indication of the ferocity of the Japanese advance that Pearl Harbour was attacked 7 Dec 1941, the “ impregnable” Singapore fortress surrended 15 Feb 1942 and Darwin suffered its first bombing by 188 aircraft just four days later. Neville was the senior naval officer at the time of the first raid which was followed by a further 59 air raids in the next two months.It was widely accepted that a land invasion was imminent. Fortunately this did not occur.
We know that on 20 April 1942 he was dispatched by air to Brisbane for thirty six days leave with return by air on completion. While on leave he requested and was granted transfer to a southern appointment citing as reasons, adverse health and general debilitation from two tropical wet seasons. This was perfectly understandable considering he was forty seven years old and responsible for two young sons and a wife He was subsequently promoted to Commander on the emergency list.
He resumed his former position as manager of the Australian Medical Agency in Brisbane.
The years leading to retirement were focused on his growing family with favourite activities being fishing with the boys, picnics for all the family and frequent beach holidays during school holidays
He retired from his managerial position in the late 1960s and died 18 Aug 1974, three months short of his eightieth birthday.
Neville Cobbold 2008
We have since learned that S N Cobbold is listed on the honours board at his prep school, St Ronans, Worthing, Sussex as having won a scholarship to the Royal Naval College, Osborne in 1908. He represented his school at football in 1907 and at cricket in 1908. His brother, A M G Cobbold (#403 on the family tree) was at the same school at the same time (there was only 13 months between them) and likewise played football for the school in 1908, '09 & 1910 and cricket in 1909 and '10. Coincidentally their half third cousin, F R C Cobbold (#334) was there too in the football team in 1906, '07 and '08 and in the cricket team in 1907 and '08.
Anthony Cobbold 2015
|1928||Death of mother Alice Bessie NUNN Mus Bac|
|1931||Married Mildred Denton STEPHENSON in Brisbane, Australia|
|1934||Death of father Alfred Townshend COBBOLD OBE|
|1939||Married Eva Agnes BRUTNALL in Brisbane, Australia|
|1939||Birth of son Neville Townshend COBBOLD|
|1940||Birth of son Michael Rowland COBBOLD|
|1944||Birth of daughter Primrose (Prim) Ann COBBOLD|