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Honouring the fallen

652. Bob Cobley

Bob Cobley volunteers for the Commonwealth War Graves Commission in Denmark, caring for the graves of those who died during the two world wars.

Bob leads what has become known as ‘The Denmark Team’ to help monitor the graves of 1,142 Commonwealth war casualties buried across 130 sites throughout Denmark and the surrounding islands. Many of these casualties are located in remote locations which are difficult to visit.

In May Bob was instrumental in identifying an anonymous grave of a British serviceman 100 years after his death. Harry Gasson had served as an able seaman on board HMS Castor and was killed during the Battle of Jutland on May 31st, 1916. When his body washed up on the Danish coast he was buried in a grave marked ‘A British Seaman of the Great War’. His identity was finally uncovered when Bob connected a comment in the burial records of a local church with those of a missing sailor from the Castor.

In a personal letter to Bob, Prime Minister Theresa May said: 

“Your work with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission is ensuring this country can properly honour those brave soldiers who gave their lives during the two world wars and are buried in Denmark.

Across the world British volunteers like you are helping to build a better world for everyone. The Point of Light award is a small thank you on behalf of the whole country, in recognition of your exceptional service.” 

Bob said: 

“It is a privileged position to help keep alive in Denmark the memory of so many brave men and women who died, often in their teens and early twenties, for their belief in a free and better world that is so often taken for granted today.  

“It is my sincere hope that the Points of Light award scheme will perhaps inspire younger volunteers to help keep these memories alive for the future.”

HM Ambassador to Denmark, Dominic Schroeder said:

“Bob’s dedication, together with that of his Danish colleagues, has contributed so much to the preservation and honour of the memory and dignity of those who served with such bravery.”

The daily Points of Light award recognises outstanding individual volunteers - people who are making a change in their community.

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