Edgar Mobbs
Birth nameEdgar Roberts Mobbs
Date of birth(1882-06-29)29 June 1882
Place of birthNorthampton, England
Date of death31 July 1917(1917-07-31) (aged 35)
Place of deathPilckem Ridge, Passchendaele salient, Belgium
SchoolBedford Modern School
Rugby union career
Position(s) Wing
Senior career
Years Team Apps (Points)
Northampton R.F.C.
Barbarian F.C.
International career
Years Team Apps (Points)
1909–1910 England 7 (12)

Edgar Roberts Mobbs DSO (1882–1917)[1] was an English rugby union footballer who played for and captained Northampton R.F.C. and England. He played as a three quarter. Mobbs is commemorated in the Ella-Mobbs Trophy, first competed for by the Australia and England rugby union teams in the 2022 series.[2]


Edgar Roberts Mobbs was born on 29 June 1882 in Northampton, England, the son of Oliver L. and Elizabeth Anne Mobbs.[3] A brother was Noel Mobbs (1878–1959), founder of Slough Estates. He was educated at Bedford Modern School where the name of a house commemorates him.[4]

Bust of Mobbs from the Northampton Memorial
Mobbs Memorial at Zillebeke.

After initially being turned down as too old to join the army[dubious ] in the First World War, Mobbs raised his own "sportsman's" company of 250 sportsmen (also known as Mobbs' Own) for the Northamptonshire Regiment. He rose to command his battalion (7th (Service) Battalion, Northamptonshire Regiment) with the rank of lieutenant colonel.[5] He was awarded the Distinguished Service Order in the 1917 New Year Honours.[6][7]

Mobbs was killed in action, on 31 July 1917, at Zillebeke, Belgium, during the Third Battle of Ypres, while attacking a machine gun post. His body has not been found, so his name is on the Menin Gate memorial.[8] Mobbs is also commemorated with a bust in Northampton.[5] He is also commemorated in the woods around Zillebeke with a cross and a remembrance plate.

In 1921 the first Mobbs' Memorial Match was held between the East Midlands RFU and the Barbarians at Franklin's Gardens. In 2008 the Barbarians played Bedford Blues in the Mobbs Memorial Match at Goldington Road[9] and did so again in 2009. The final Mobbs Match to feature the Barbarians took place in April 2011 against Bedford. The fixture continues to be played with the Army Rugby Union facing Bedford and Northampton Saints in alternate years[10][11] and the game helps to raise money for youth rugby in the area.[5]

Edgar Mobbs Way, a road in Northampton, close to Franklin's Gardens stadium, is named after him. A band from Northampton have named themselves The Mobbs after Edgar Mobbs.[citation needed]

See also


  1. ^ Edgar Mobbs player profile Scrum.com
  2. ^ Williamson, Nathan (23 June 2022). "Wallabies to play England for new Ella-Mobbs Cup | Latest Rugby News | RUGBY.com.au". www.rugby.com.au. Retrieved 2 July 2022.
  3. ^ "Edgar Mobbs - Rugby Union - Players and Officials - ESPN Scrum". ESPN scrum. Retrieved 3 July 2015.
  4. ^ Bedford Modern School of the black & red. OCLC 16558393 – via worldcat.org.
  5. ^ a b c "Saints and the Army gather to honour fallen hero". telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 5 December 2014.
  6. ^ "No. 29886". The London Gazette (Supplement). 29 December 1916. p. 25.
  7. ^ Brendan Gallagher (10 November 2008). "Sporting greats who graced playing field and World War One battlefield but were taken before their time: Sport - Telegraph". Telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 3 July 2015.
  8. ^ "Mobbs, Edgar Roberts". Casualty details. CWGC. Retrieved 15 May 2016.
  9. ^ 81st Mobbs Memorial Match confirmed Archived 22 May 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ Richards, Huw (22 April 2011). "The end of an era". ESPN Scrum. Retrieved 24 April 2011.
  11. ^ "Mobbs Memorial Match returns to Northampton". rfu.com. 22 March 2012. Archived from the original on 23 October 2012.