Lance Corporal 244975 John Cox

Killed in Action on Friday, 26th October 1917, age 32.
Commemorated on Panel 102 to 104 of Tyne Cot Memorial, Zonnebeke, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium.

2nd/5th Bn., The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment. 170th Brigade of 57th Division.

Husband of Mrs Edith Cox, of 14 Kingsley Road, Ellesmere Port, Cheshire.
Born: Tipton, Enlisted: Ellesmere Port, Resident: Ellesmere Port, Cheshire.

First landed France & Flanders, post 31st December 1915.
Medal entitlement: British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives survived and transcribed.

Not commemorated on any Tipton memorial, but commemorated on the Christ Church and Civic Memorials, Ellesmere Port.
Commemorated here because identified as Tipton on 'Soldiers Died in the Great War'.

Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/841611/

Genealogical Data

1901 Census
130 High Street, Dudley, Worcs
John Cox (44, Coal Miner, born Tipton), and his wife Louisa (52, born Dudley), and their 2 sons: John (17, Ironworker, born Tipton), and William (15, Ironworker, born Tipton).

1911 Census
16 Elm Street , Ellesmere Port, Cheshire.
John Cox (26, Ironworker, born Tipton), and his wife Edith (24, born Hampshire). Also John's brother William Cox (24, Ironworker, born Tipton).

Marriage of John Cox and Edith Lock registered December quarter 1910 in Wirral. The birth of a son, Jack, was registered in September quarter 1911, in Wirral. Edith's death, age 31, was registered in December quarter 1918 in Wirral.

Personal Data

John Cox attested with the 2/5th Loyal North Lancs on 10th December 1915 at Ellesmere Port under the Derby Scheme, his initial number was 5/10088. He was called up for service on 20th October 1916, he was then 31 years of age and employed as a Joiner's Labourer. He was 5 feet 3 inches tall, had a 34½-inch chest and weighed 124 pounds. He had married Edith on 17th October 1910, and they had one son, Jack, born 17th August 1911. He lived at 14 Kingsley Road, Ellesmere Port.

John departed from Southampton, landing in Le Havre on 9th February 1917, just over a month later he was appointed Lance Corporal. John was killed on 26th October during the latter stages of the 3rd Battle of Ypres, and his body never recovered.

In June 1918, Edith was still addressed as the 'wife of the missing John Cox' when she was awarded a pension of 20 shillings and 5 pence for herself and her one child. It was not until 24th September 1918 that John was officially accepted as having been killed in action. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial, and also on the Christ Church and the Civic War Memorials in Ellesmere Port.

After John's death, his outstanding army pay and allowances amounted to £3/6/5d (3 pounds, 6 shillings and 5 pence); this was paid to the "Guardian of child, Elizabeth R. Lock" in February 1919. His War Gratuity was £3/10/0d (3 pounds and 10 shillings), this was also paid to the same person in November 1919. The value of the War Gratuity suggests that John had enlisted in October 1916. Elizabeth R. Lock was the mother-in-law of John Cox. John's widow, Edith, had died in 1918 and her mother had become the guardian of John and Edith's son, Jack.

Action resulting in his death

On 26th October the 2nd Battle of Passchendaele began, the final phase of the 3rd Battle of Ypres. The 2/5th Loyal North Lancs, as part of 57th (2nd West Lancashire) Division, were at the extreme northern end of the battlefield, just north of Poelcapelle. Here they were to perform a diversionary attack to prevent the Germans in their sector from concentrating on the main attack further south. Their attack advanced into an impassable morass, which stopped the attack close to the start line. The division established two advanced posts at Rubens and Memlings Farms 200-350 yards forward, and there the advance stalled.

This was the first major attack that the 57th Division had made after arriving in France in February 1917. 92 men from John's 2/5th Loyal North Lancashires were killed on that day, and a further 232 men were killed from the other 3 Battalions in their Brigade, the 170th (2/1st North Lancashire) Brigade. On 26th October John was reported wounded and missing, and subsequently accepted as killed in action.

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