Christopher Cox VC
The life of a Kings Langley farm worker was changed dramatically as a result of his heroism in the Great War. Christopher Augustus Cox had been born and brought up in the village before starting work on a local farm to help support his widowed mother and her family. The outbreak of war in 1914 was to change all that.
Christopher Cox joined Kitchener's call to arms and support King and Country, enlisting in the 7th Bedfordshire Regiment. His first experience of trench warfare came in 1915 and, in his role as a stretcher-bearer, he was to experience many harrowing scenes over the coming months and years. It was dangerous too, moving out into the midst of exploding shells to rescue the wounded and bring them back to the Advanced Dressing Station. He himself was wounded in the Somme in July 1916 but, after the removal of the bullet from his leg and two months in hospital, he was back on the front line by September of that same year.
In March 1917 the 7th Bedfords were on the front line overlooking Hill 130 near the village of Achiet-le Grand pressing forward to the Loupart Line. Heavy fighting lasting for several days meant many casualties and work for the Stretcher Bearers. Chris worked tirelessly moving from shell hole to shell hole carrying wounded men back to the safety of the first aid posts, "always either vigorously searching for wounded or carrying cases quite oblivious to the heavy bombardment" to quote from one of the officers who supported the request that he received a citation for his action. Another officer noted the he "saw Pte Cox carrying back wounded from the Loupart Line through a heavy barrage of machine gun fire and heavy calibre shells to the dressing station" while a third witness recorded that "Pte Cox saved many lives that day by risking his own and I certainly think he deserves the coveted honour".
In submitting the final Victoria Cross recommendation, Major General R P Lee concluded "This Private soldier 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". So, on May 11th 1917, the London Gazette announced that the King had approved the award of the Victoria Cross to No. 13908 Pte. Christopher Cox, Bedf. R. "for most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty when acting as a stretcher-bearer".
After the war, Chris came back to live and work in the village, serving in the Home Guard during WW2. Although he resumed the simple life of a quiet unassuming citizen, to some extent his life was changed for ever since he was often invited to attend regimental events and Remembrance Parades and Dinners - even opening local social events of some occasions! He never sought publicity though and much preferred the quiet life of an ordinary hard working, God fearing, man.
See also Christopher Cox Artifacts
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