Mayor to mark WWI centenary by laying wreath at Surrey Heath soldier’s grave in France


The Mayor of Surrey Heath, Cllr Dan Adams will mark the centenary of the end of World War I by laying a wreath on the grave of a Surrey Heath soldier in Northern France.

Following the Camberley Remembrance service on Sunday 11 November, the Mayor and Mayoress will travel to Lapugnoy Military Cemetery near Bethune to lay a wreath at the grave of Herbert Benjamin Daborn from Chobham.

Private Daborn, 23, died on 25 September 1915 from wounds sustained in battle.

Lapugnoy Cemetery records – Pte Daborn (extract)

A list of Surrey Heath residents who lost their lives during the First World War was provided by Surrey Heath Museum, and Pte Daborn’s name chosen at random to represent all those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

Prior to leaving for France, Cllr Adams managed to locate some of Pte Daborn’s surviving relatives via Facebook, and arranged to meet them.

The Mayor and Mayoress of Surrey Heath with Herbert Daborn’s family

Appropriately, they met at Timber Hill Barn, Chobham, where an exhibition entitled ‘Chobham and The Great War’ was being held. It featured profiles of 25 Chobham people who lost their lives during WWI, including Herbert Daborn.

The family expressed their gratitude that the Mayor was to mark Herbert’s sacrifice, and that of all Surrey Heath’s fallen soldiers, through this poignant visit.

Pte Daborn’s nephew, Alan Daborn, now lives in Warminster in Wiltshire. His father Frederick was Herbert’s youngest brother.

Alan’s wife Sue said: “We feel honoured that our Herbert Benjamin Daborn was picked by the Mayor to have a wreath laid at his grave in France.

“We had a fantastic day back in Chobham meeting the Mayor and Mayoress, and visiting the World War One exhibition there. It was so poignant, we will never forget it.

“Thank you to Cllr Adams and his wife Sarah from the whole Daborn family.”

Herbert Benjamin Daborn was born on 25 May, 1892 in Chobham, to Benjamin and Emily Daborn. He had three sisters and two brothers, and the family lived at 4 Council Cottages, Burrow Hill, Chobham.

Aged 22, he enlisted in September 1914 at Guildford into 8th Battalion, The Queen’s (Royal West Surrey Regiment). A private, his service number was G/4072.
Following stints in Shoreham, Worthing and Blackdown (Aldershot), at the end of August 1915 his regiment were mobilised and landed at Boulogne to join actions on the Western Front.

Less than a month later, on 25 September 1915, Pte Daborn died of wounds sustained in battle. He was just 23.

Graves Registration Report Form Pte Daborn – extract

Buried at Lapugnoy Military Cemetery, the inscription on his headstone reads: ‘Gone but never to be forgotten’.

Cllr Adams said: “The Remembrance events this year have a special significance, marking 100 years since the end of the First World War.

“I wanted to do something meaningful to mark this, and felt that making the journey to France to pay my respects at the grave of one of Surrey Heath’s fallen sons would be a fitting gesture.

“Pte Daborn’s individual story is a personal one, but representative of the thousands who gave their lives in the Great War.

“I hope my actions, however small in comparison, will help commemorate this.

“I would also like to express my thanks to the Surrey Heath Museum staff and volunteers, without whose extensive research this trip would not have been possible.”