Christopher Augustus Cox

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Christopher Augustus Cox
Christopher Augustus Cox VC.jpg
Born 25 December 1889
Kings Langley, Hertfordshire
Died 28 March 1959
Kings Langley[1]
Buried at Kings Langley Cemetery
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch Flag of the British Army.svg British Army
Years of service 1914 - 1917
Rank Private
Unit Bedfordshire Regiment
Home Guard
Battles/wars World War I
World War II
Awards Victoria Cross (UK) ribbon.png Victoria Cross

Christopher Augustus Cox VC (25 December 1889 – 28 April 1959), was an English recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.

Early army career[edit]

Cox was born and later worked as a farm labourer in the Hertfordshire village of Kings Langley.[1] He married Maud Swan in 1912 and had one son when war was declared, but still volunteered in September 1914. He was a private in the 7th Battalion, The Bedfordshire Regiment. He went to France in July 1915 and spent nearly two years in the trenches, first on the Somme near Albert. He was wounded on the first day of the Somme offensive. He was at Thiepval in September 1916 and participated in the Bihucourt assault in March 1917, an engagement in which his actions would earn him the Victoria Cross.[2]

Victoria Cross[edit]

On 13 March 1917 at Achiet-le-Grand, France, during an attack by the battalion, the front wave was checked by very heavy artillery and machine gun fire and the whole line had to take cover in shell holes. Cox, a stretcher-bearer, went out over fire-swept ground and single-handedly rescued four men. Having collected the wounded of his own battalion he then helped to bring in the wounded of the adjoining battalion. On two subsequent days he carried out similar work with complete disregard for his own safety.[3][2]

Injury and later life[edit]

He sustained serious wounds to his foot in an attack on the village of Cherisy on 3 May 1917 which resulted in him being sent back to England, after which he helped to train recruits. Cox was presented with the Victoria Cross by King George V on 21 July 1917 at Buckingham Palace. After the war, he refused the offer of a commission and a house and began work as a builder in Kings Langley, later being employed at the nearby Ovaltine factory. During the Second World War, he joined the local Home Guard.[2]

His family expanded to eight children and 14 grandchildren. He died on 28 April 1959 at the age of 69. His Victoria Cross is currently on display at the Imperial War Museum, London, England.

Memorial celebration in 2007[edit]

On 9 September 2007 Kings Langley village celebrated Christopher Augustus Cox's life and daring deeds in a village ceremony. The High Street was closed to traffic to allow a pipe band, standard bearers, ex-service men and women, local dignitaries and members of the Cox family to parade from the Kings Langley Methodist Church along the High Street to the Parish Church for a memorial service. The Last Post played by bugle was sounded within the Church and by the grave. The congregation then moved to the community centre, where artifacts relating to Christopher Cox's life were on display.

Kings Langley village was twinned with Achiet-le-Grand in France in November 2009, in honour of Christopher Cox .[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Christopher Cox VC". www.kingslangley.org.uk. Kings Langley Local History and Museum Society. Retrieved 26 February 2016. 
  2. ^ a b c Fuller, Steven. "Private 13908 Christopher Augustus COX, V.C.". www.bedfordregiment.org.uk. Retrieved 26 February 2016. 
  3. ^ "(Supplement) no. 30064". The London Gazette. 11 May 1917. p. 4587. Retrieved 5 May 2015. 
  4. ^ "French twinning steams ahead". Hemel Hempstead Gazette. 9 April 2009. Retrieved 13 April 2009. 

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