Christopher Cox V.C. Artifacts
See also Christopher Cox VC
This article was published in the KLLH&MS Newsletter in March 2000.
As well as describing the life of Christopher Cox it lists the the many items kindly contributed to the safe keeping of this society. Other memorbilia have been added subsequently to our collection and listed.
13908 Private Christopher Augustus Cox, VC
by Denis Miles
Beryl Pizzey and I have visited Mrs Elizabeth Cox on several occasions. On the first visit a list of the artifacts was created. Betty wanted to show the collection to her family before she passed them over. It was only recently that the last member of the family saw them. It was then time for the hand-over. On that occasion Nick Mills was also present. He is the person who has taken a keen interest in Christopher Cox and wants a permanent memorial to be created in the village.
It was on 10 February that we accepted the collection for safekeeping into our collection which is kept in the environmentally controlled Museum Store in Berkhamsted under the management of the Dacorum Heritage Trust curator, Matthew Wheeler.
There are 216 items in The Christopher Cox Collection. It took a further 3 weeks of full-time work to accession the collection. The collection starts with an entrance ticket [KISMS 2000.091], to mark the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria, dated 22 June 1897, to a Tea and Entertainment party at the National Schools in Fortis Green Road, Muswell Hill, London when Maud May Swan was 7 years and 5 months old.
Maud Swan married Christopher Cox on 5 October 1912 and we have a photograph of about October 1913 [KISMS 2000.092] of the happy couple with Christopher William, their first born, on her knee aged about 3 months.
Christopher Augustus enlisted in the 7th Battalion of the Bedfordshire Regiment on 7 September 1914 as shown on his Certificate of Discharge [KISMS 2000.103]. In the collection are postcards showing Bapoume town centre [KISMS 2000.095.11] where there was later a major battle.
There is a field card (a postcard on which the soldier could only tick pre-printed messages which seemed nearest to the message they wished to convey) [KISMS 2000.098] from Christopher to his wife Maud posted two days after he was wounded, 17 March 1917. KISMS 2000.097.01 is a card from the Major General of the 18th Division to inform Christopher that he had received the evidence from the witnesses and that he was being recommended for the Victoria Cross. KISMS 2000.097.02 is a copy of the citation. The original is going to the Imperial War Museum where the Victoria Cross has been loaned by Christopher William’s son. The three bullets and the shrapnel that wounded Christopher will also go to the Imperial War Museum.
We have the advanced copy of the London Gazette [KISMS 2000.099.01] that announced the award on its front page that was sent to Christopher overnight. He was invested with the Victoria Cross by King George V at Buckingham Palace on 21 July 1917 [Entrance pass to Buckingham Palace - KISMS 2000.100]. There were photographs of Christopher in the Sunday Pictorial on 22 July and 29 July 1917 [KISMS 2000.101.01-02].
On 20 June 1920 there was a garden party at Buckingham Palace for the holders of the Victoria Cross who marched to the Palace. In the collection are the Invitation from the Lord Chamberlain, the list of the holders who would be attending [KISMS 2000.100.107-9] and the subsequent photographs in the Daily Mirror, which showed Capt Tom Adlam, VC, Piper Laidlaw, VC, and Christopher Cox, VC, leading the parade [KISMS 2000.101.110-02].
Christopher Cox joined Wander Ltd (Ovaltine) in 1922 and on 31 October 1947 he received a Long Service Certificate [KISMS 2000.138]. In 1984 the family received the Diamond Jubilee plate [KISMS 2000.196] of Wander Foods 1909-1984.
On 9 November 1929 the holders of the Victoria Cross were invited to the House of Lords for dinner. The collection includes the Invitation, the Menu, Programme of music and List of Guests. There is also a telegram from one of his comrades sent to the House of Lords and photographs in The People, Sunday Referee and The Sphere [KISMS 2000.112.01-116.03].
On 16 June, Maud Cox received her first Communion from Rev Guy Beech, vicar of All Saints Church, Kings Langley. Her Communion Certificate [KISMS 2000.119] shows that she was baptised at St James Church, Muswell Hill on 23 February 1890 and was confirmed at Apsley End on 30 May 1937.
On 27 June 1937 there was a Garden Party at Buckingham Palace to which Christopher and Maud were invited.
Then came the Second World War when Christopher William Cox and Reginald James Cox followed in their father’s footsteps by joined the Field Ambulance section of the RAMC and were based in Malta for most of the war [KISMS 2000.123-128]. Christopher Augustus Cox was not idle during the war and there is a photograph of him in the uniform of a corporal in the Home Guard [KISMS 2000.129]. Maud Cox and Beauty of Langley (a St Bernard) also did their bit, as shown by a photograph and a newspaper cutting about the “Wings for Victory” collection in the village [KISMS 2000.130.01-02]. A letter to Maud Cox from the Women’s Voluntary Service [KISMS 2000.132] dated 7 November 1944 thanked her for her services to the community.
On the 8 June 1946 saw the end of the war and Victory Celebrations started. There are invitations to the Dorchester Hotel, Aquatic and Fireworks Display at St Thomas Hospital and other events [KISMS 2000.135.01-137.04].
On the 2 June 1953 saw the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II and several events including the planting of a tree at the Community Centre with Bill Sharp, the Clerk to the Hemel Hempstead Rural District Council. The metal plaque [KISMS 2000.146] is in the collection.
The Centenary of the installation of the Victoria Cross was in 1956 and there were a number of celebrations in London. There was a Review of holders of the Victoria Cross in Hyde Park and a garden party at Marlborough House and an invitation to the House of Commons for a reception. Then they realised that there were too many guests and the invitation had to be replaced by one from the Government to attend a reception at Westminster Hall [KISMS 2000.150-161]. There is also a message from the Queen via Lord Freyberg saying how proud she was to inspect the holders of the VC [KISMS 2000.162]. There is a very amusing incident recorded in The Daily Express [KISMS 2000.169.02] of one of the holders of the VC being marched across the parade ground by a very tall guardsman as he had arrived late on parade and half way across, the National Anthem started and he had to stand to attention in the middle of the square. (That was worth a bar to his VC!)
Christopher Augustus Cox died on 28 April 1959 and there are letters of condolence and obituaries in various newspapers as well as in the Regimental magazine, “The Wasp and the Eagle” (The Journal of the 16th and 18th Foot) [KISMS 2000.182.01-184].
As mentioned above, Nick Mills has taken a keen interest in the life of the Cox family with a particular interest in Christopher Augustus Cox, VC. He has created a large loose-leaf file and has kindly allowed the Society to make a copy of it. In fact we have made two identical files, one is to be kept in the Society’s bookcase in the Library and the other has gone to the DHT Store in Berkhamsted and augments the vast archive on the soldiers of Dacorum who went to war, some of whom did not return. We have also been able to add items to Nick’s collection.