Christopher Cox, VC

Christopher Augustus Cox VC (25 December 1889 – 28 April 1959) was an English recipient of the Victoria Cross.

Early army career

Cox was married with one son when war was declared but still volunteered in September 1914. He was a private in the 7th Battalion, The Bedfordshire Regiment, British Army. 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, which is where he won the Victoria Cross.

Victoria Cross

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 shelter 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.

Injury and discharge

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.

His family expanded to 8 children and 14 grandchildren. He died on 28 April 1959 at age 69. His Victoria Cross is currently on display at the Imperial War Museum, London, England.

Memorial celebration in 2007

On 9 September 2007 Kings Langley village celebrated Christopher Augustus Cox’s life and brave deeds in a village ceremony. The Marie of Achiet le Grand, his deputy, their wives and other French dignitaries were welcomed to Kings Langley and the High Street was closed to traffic to allow a marching 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 All Saints Parish Church for a memorial service. The Last Post by bugle was played within the Church and by his grave. The congregation then moved to the community centre, where artifacts relating to Christopher Cox’s life were on display.

Christopher Cox, VC Address By Alex McGregor, September 2007.

A History Of The Victoria Cross And Its Significance (Donald Abbott, 9th September 2007)

Centenary Commemoration and laying of memorial VC stone, April 2017

2017 Centenary Ceremony For Christopher Cox Commemorative Stone (website Version)

The Centenary Commemoration – Christopher Cox, V.C, took place on the afternoon of Sunday April 30th, 2017. Organised by Kings Langley Parish Council, the residents of Kings Langley came together to honour their World War I hero, Christopher Cox, whose exploits during the war was recognised by the receiving of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious honour awarded for valour.
At 2pm the parade led by Major (Ret’d.) Bill O’Connor, T.D., Chairman of the Royal Anglian Regiment Association (Herts) accompanied by the County ACF Corps of Drums, Standard Bearers, Old Comrades, Soldiers and members of the Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Army Cadet Force plus members of the public proceeded up The Nap and along the High Street to the War Memorial.
The Worshipful Mayor of Dacorum, Cllr Bob McLean welcomed the congregation with a presentation and read the citation (see below). The Rev’d David Lawson of All Saints Church conducted the readings and prayers. Cllrs Howard Button and Gerry Angiolini, Chair and Vice Chair of the Parish Council unveiled the memorial stone. There followed the laying of wreaths, the National Anthem and the Last Post and Reveille was performed by a bugler from the Salvation Army. After the service, a reception for the dignitaries and guests took place at the Services Club in Hempstead Road.
Citation
For the most conspicuous gallantry and continuous devotion to duty when acting as a Stretcher Bearer during the operations against ACHIET-le-GRAND on March the 15th 1917.
During the attack of the 7th Bedfordshire Regiment the first wave came to a standstill owing to the severity of the artillery and machine gun fire. The whole line had to take cover in shell holes and dig in to prevent annihilation.
Private COX with absolute disregard for his own personal safety went out into the open over absolutely fire swept ground and single handed rescued four men.
Having collected all the wounded of his battalion he assisted in bringing in the wounded of the neighbouring battalion.
He continued to rescue the wounded on March 16th and 17th with complete disregard of his own personal safety.
This Private soldier has been in every engagement in which his battalion has taken part since July 1916 and he has on all occasions displayed the same high example of unselfishness and personal courage. I consider him worthy of the highest decoration that can be bestowed.
(Exact copy of original citation)