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War Memorials

In Memory of
Guardsman 9535
3rd Battalion Grenadier Guards
Who died on Saturday, 9th October 1915
Aged 35

Panes 5 to 7
Loos Memorial to the "Missing", Dud Corner Cemetery, Loos, France

Commemorated in Perpetuity
by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Remembered with Honour
Loos Memorial

The Loos Memorial, France1

John Samuel Cox, was born in Beeston, Notts on 14th July 18802, the eldest son of John & Jane (née Newcombe) Cox. By 1891, the family was living at 58 Regent Street, Beeston and John Samuel, still only aged 11, was already working as a millhand - probably at the silk mill3. John senior was working as a lace maker and, as well as his wife, there were seven children in the family - as well as John Samuel, these included Delilah (b. c1874, a millhand) and Mary Hannah (b 1876, a lace mender); Thomas (b. 1882) and Harriett (b. 1884) still at school; George (b. 1887) and Frances (b. 1890) were infants at home. By 1901, the family had moved to 3 Derby Street, Beeston (next to the Shaftesbury Laundry) and John Samuel was, like his father, working as a lace maker3.

By 1911, John Samuel appears to have fallen on difficult times as, at the time of the census, he is recorded as 'formerly a general labourer', living at 16 Gladstone Street, Beeston, married to Jane Ann for seven years and having had seven children, five of whom had died as infants5. In fact, it appears likely that the couple did not marry until July 19156, just prior to John Samuel's posting to France, by which time the couple had had another one, perhaps two, further children and, sadly, had lost another two.

John Samuel appears to have enlisted with 3rd Battalion Grenadier Guards early in the war. He would have undertaken basic training at Wellington Barracks, London, where the Battalion was stationed, before being sent to France, with the Battalion as a whole, on 26 July 1915, landing at Le Havre the next day7.

In August 1915, the various Guards Battalions, some depleted by battle casualties, were formed into the Guards Division. 3rd Battalion became part of its 2nd Brigade (one of four, each with four battalions). As such, it took part in the ill-fated Battle of Loos which was to see huge British casualties. Guardsman8 Cox was amongst those who were killed in action on 9th October 1915. He has no known grave but is remembered on Loos Memorial to the "Missing", Loos, France.

His widow, Jane Ann, would have now been in even more desperate circumstances, with her two surviving children, Edward Cox (b. 1910 and Margaret Ellen (b. 1913), to support, possibly with some help from the extended family. In 1918 she married Harry Everley but died, aged only 39, early in 1920. Thankfully, her two children were taken into their home at 12 Evelyn Street, Beeston, by their aunt Harriet (née Cox) and her husband John Henry Hall.

1The photograph of Loos Memorial is from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website. (http://www.cwgc.org)
2His birthdate was recorded at the time of his Baptism at Beeston Parish Church on 14 August 1881. It was registered in Basford Registration District (of which Beeston was part) in Q3/1880 - Ref 7b 163.
31891 Census - Piece 2671 Folio 78
41901 Census - Piece 3153 Folio 11
51911 Census - Piece 20428 RD 429 SD 3 ED 3 Schedule 237
6The marriage took place at Beeston Parish Church on 1st June 1915
7The Army Service Record for John Samuel Cox does not appear to have survived, however, his Medal Card does record the date that he was posted to France as 26th July 1915.
8Although the rank of Guardsman, instead of Private, was not adopted in the Guards Regiments until 1920, we have used it here, even though John Samuel Cox would have held the rank of Private during his service. His entry in 'Soldiers Died in the Great War' also uses the rank of Guardsman.
9Her death was registered in Basford Registration District in Q2/1918 - ref 7b 466

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