Robert Arthur Denyer (1890-1914)- Pte 7665 1st Bn Coldstream GuardsRobert Denyerwas born in Cranleigh on the 22ndJanuary 1890, the youngest son of William and Fanny Maria Denyer (nee Knight). After starting working life as a postman it seems that Robert decided that the military life would suit him better and signed up for the Coldstream Guards in February 1908 at the age of 18 (although his papers say 19). This decision may have been influenced in some part by his brother Christopher who was a career sailor in the Royal Navy.The Guards Regiments’ terms of service at that time were 3 years with the colours (i.e. on active service) and 9 years with the reserve. Robert served his 3 years at home with the 1stBattalion and then, in February 1911 was posted to the reserve. Hence, at the time of the 1911 census he was back home with his mother and brother, working as a labourer.However, shortly after the census, on June 11th1911, he was taken on by the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway as a porter at Christ’s Hospital station and it was from here that he answered his recall to the Regiment on the 5th August 1914.As a trained soldier Robert was straight back in the action and shipped almost straight away to France with the 1stBattalion Coldstream Guards as part of the BEF on the 13thAugust. The Regiment was part of the 1st(Guards) Brigade of the 1stDivision of the BEF and one of the first divisions into France. Crossing to Le Havre on the Dunvegan Castle they then marched and were shipped by train through Belgium towards the advancing German army. The armies met at the Battle of Mons and although casualties were relatively low the overwhelming strength of the German force soon became obvious and the allies were forced to retreat back into France. It was the successful rear-guard action at the Battle of the Marne, between September 6thand 10th that finally stopped the German advance and established defensive positions for the BEF and the French Army. This is generally recognised as the start of the trench warfare for which the Great War is remembered most keenly and it was in the following offensive – the Battle of the Aisne - that Robert was killed in action just four days later on 14th September 1914. The War Diary gives a graphic account of the march on Cerny and the subsequent retreat in which Robert must have died, which like so many other actions in the Great War, achieved very little.He was declared Missing in Action on the 14thSeptember and the “official presumption of death” followed shortly after. His body was never found and hence he has no known grave but is commemorated on the Le Ferte-Sous-Jouarre Memorial in France.He was awarded the 1914 Star, British War and Victory Medals for his service and is remembered on the Itchingfield War Memorial.Robert’s service record survives and can obtained for a fee from the Coldstream Guards Archives in London..