David Cobb

David Cobb

Birth
Dothan, Houston County, Alabama, USA
Death 12 Mar 1943 (aged 21)
Shepton Mallet, Mendip District, Somerset, England
Burial Dothan, Houston County, Alabama, USA
Memorial ID 27273696 · View Source
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Private, Company C, 827th Engineer Battalion (Aviation), serving in Great Britain during World War II. He was the first American soldier executed for a crime during World War II. He was executed by hanging for the murder of 2nd Lieutenant Robert J. Cobner, 827th Engineer Battalion (Aviation), who was Officer of the Day while Private Cobb was serving on guard duty.

Cobb was the second son of Reverend Howard C. and Addie Mae Cobb. Considered a wayward and mischievous youth, he dropped out of school in the 7th grade, to begin work as a newspaper delivery carrier. He indulged in drinking, and it was often that his older brother, Richard, would have to come to his rescue after a night of drinking. In 1938, David married Cornelia Dozier, and fathered two children: Howard and Christine. Living with his parents caused strain on the marriage, and eventually, David and Cornelia separated, with her going back to her mother's house with the children. Although separated, they never divorced, and David would visit the children periodically.

David enlisted into the US Army on January 8, 1942, and took basic training at Fort Dix, NJ. Assigned to the 827th Engineer Battalion, his unit transferred to Great Britain on December 16, 1942, and just eleven days later, David committed the incident which resulted in his court martial and death sentence. David was assigned as a guard, and on the morning of December 27, 1942, 2nd Lt Robert J. Cobner, Officer of the Day, arrived to have some beds moved and to inspect the guardhouse. Cobb was disrespectful to Lt Cobner, having served four hours longer as a guard than he expected to, and Cobner directed the Sergeant of the Guard to arrest Cobb. Cobb refused to surrender his M-1 rifle to the Sergeant of the Guard, and when Lt Cobner approached him to take the weapon, Cobb fired one round at the Lieutenant, killing him instantly. A subsequent court marial determined that Cobb had killed the Lieutenant while the officer was performing his duty, and the jury recommended the death sentence.

Following his execution by hanging at the US Army's Shepton Mallet Military Prison, the body of Private Cobb was buried in Brookwood Cemetery in Surrey, until March 1949, when it was returned to his widow in Dothan, Alabama. He is now buried in an unmarked grave next to his sister, Ruby Lee Cobb, who died in 1948, in the city owned North Highland Street cemetery.


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  • Created by: Kit and Morgan Benson
  • Added: 2 Jun 2008
  • Find A Grave Memorial 27273696
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for David Cobb (14 Nov 1921–12 Mar 1943), Find A Grave Memorial no. 27273696, citing Dothan City Cemetery, Dothan, Houston County, Alabama, USA ; Maintained by Kit and Morgan Benson (contributor 46483611) .