W. A. Cox
Service No. L/15560
Private, Middlesex Regiment, 12th Bn.
Died 26 September 1916, aged about 21
Remembered at Thiepval Memorial, Somme, France
Chris Burge writes:
William Anthony Cox was born in Castlebar, County Mayo, Ireland in 1895, the first child of James and Alice Cox. William’s father was a serving soldier and all four of their children were born in Ireland. In 1901 the family were living in married quarters at the Shorncliffe Army Camp in Kent.
In the 1911 census, James and Alice lived with their three surviving children, William, Elena and Jim in Ramsgate on the coast. William was working as gardener; his father, an Army Pensioner, worked was a valet attendant. It is not known when the family came to the Stockwell area, but James Cox appeared on the electoral roll in 1915, living at 15 Portland Place South, South Lambeth.
William Cox’s service number indicates he volunteered in either late April or early May 1915. Ready, or not, he was posted to the 1st Middlesex in France on 29 September, just five days after the 1st Middlesex had suffered terrible losses at the Battle of Loos. Several quiet months followed and the early part of 1916 was mostly spent in the Cuinchy sector. William Cox’s transfer to the 12th Middlesex by September 1916 suggests he may have been wounded at some stage and did not return to his original battalion. The 12th Middlesex were among the forces that attacked Thiepval on 26 September, advancing uphill under a creeping barrage with the support of a single tank, first used by the British Army in battle 11 days earlier. The majority of the 138 men killed that day are remembered on the Thiepval Memorial.
William Anthony Cox was initially posted missing, leaving his family in an emotional limbo his death was presumed to have occurred on 26 September 1916.
James and Alice Cox remained at 15 Portland Place South until at least 1927.