Frederick Arthur Cox was born in Cambridgeshire and, by 1911, came to Chelmsford by 1911 to work for W. G. Webber as a watchmaker. He was also a popular local entertainer. He married in Buckinghamshire 1913. After joining the army he was mobilized in May 1916 and went to France in January 1917. He died of wounds in June 1917 having been wounded at Ploegsteert. HIs home was in Maltese Road.
Frederick was born in Cherry Hinton, Cambridgeshire on 17th March 1884, the son of Percival Arthur Cox and Julia Cox (nee Marjorum). His father had been born in 1850 in Southampton, Hampshire; his mother c1856 in Ipswich, Suffolk. They had married in 1875 in Suffolk, and in 1881 his parents’ home had been at Cherry Hinton, having previously lived in Woodbridge, Suffolk.
Frederick’s siblings included: Percival George Cox (born 1876, Woodbridge), Emma Julia Cox (born 1877, Woodbridge), William Henry Edward Cox (born 1879, Woodbridge), Caroline Elizabeth Cox (born 1882, Cherry Hinton), Charles Herbert Cox (born 1886, Cherry Hinton) and Grace Charlotte Cox (born 1890, Cherry Hinton).
The 1891 census found seven year-old Frederick living with his parents and five siblings at High Street, Cherry Hinton, where his father was an ‘attendant on insane’. His father died in Cambridgeshire in 1896, aged 45.
The 1901 census found Frederick, aged 18 and employed as a watch maker, boarding at 34 Haven Lane, Ealing in Middlesex. A decade later the 1911 census recorded Frederick boarding with 60 year-old Martha Brown at 20 Rainsford Road, Chelmsford (later renumbered as 160). He was employed as a watchmaker at a jewellers.
Frederick married Edith Annie Brazell on 7th July 1913 at Thame in Oxfordshire. She was born on 2nd June 1877 in Bledlow, Buckinghamshire.
COX, FREDERICK ARTHUR,
Gunner, 245th Siege Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery
Frederick suffered gun shot wounds on 6th June 1917 and died later that day at No 1 Australian Casualty Clearing Station. He was was aged 34. He was buried in Bailleul Communal Cemetery Extension (Nord), France in grave III.B.252.
Two days earlier the 245th Siege Battery had been at Ploegsteert Wood when their position had been bombarded with gas shells. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission list 30 fatalities suffered by the 245th Siege Battery during the war. On 15th June 1917 the Essex County Chronicle reported:
“Gnr. F. A. Cox, R.G.A., of Maltese Road, Chelmsford, died of wounds. The sad intelligence reached his wife on Wednesday evening. Deceased, who was very popular, was with Mr. W. G. Webber, jeweller, Chelmsford, for some years, and he made a host of friends, particularly in the musical world. He was a clever elocutionist, and his monologues, both grave and humorous, were in much request. Before joining up about a year ago he was instrumental in arranging many entertainments for the wounded soldiers. He went to the Front in Jan. He leaves no children.”
The same day’s Essex Weekly News reported:
“Gunner F. A. Cox, R.G.A., who has died of wounds, was formerly in the employ of Mr. W.G. Webber, watchmaker and jeweller, Chelmsford. During his residence in the borough he was exceedingly popular as an entertainer. No entertainment appeared complete without him, and his monologues were always received with delight. He leaves a widow, but no family.”
His attestation for service for the duration of the war were completed at Chelmsford on 10th December 1915. He was described being 31 years and nine months old, resident at 25 Maltese Road, Chelmsford (later renumbered as ‘17’, demolished and rebuilt), married and employed as a Jeweller’s manager. His next of kin was his wife. They had no children.
Frederick was five feet nine and three-quarters tall, had an expanded chest of 32 inches and was a Congregationalist. After attestation he was placed upon the reserve list until called up in early 1916. On 28th March 1916 Frederick’s employer, Mr. W. G. Webber, appealed at the Chelmsford Military Service Tribinal to have the call-up to be permanently deferred via an absolute exemption. However, the Tribunal rejected the appeal and as a result Frederick was mobilized on 10th May 1916 and was posted as Gunner 122398 with the Royal Garrison Artillery.
He joined 245th Siege Battery of the Royal Garrison Artillery on 8th September 1916. Siege Batteries were equipped with heavy howitzers, designed to send large calibre high explosive shells in a high trajectory. On 23rd January 1917 he embarked from Southampton, arriving in Le Harve, France the next day.
Frederick is commemorated on the Civic Centre Memorial, Chelmsford and by the Chelmsford Parish Great War Memorial in Chelmsford Cathedral.
On 7th June 1918 the Essex County Chronicle included the following in memoriam announcement:
“Cox. - In proud and ever-loving memory of my husband, Gunner F. A. Cox, who died from wounds received in action, June 6th, 1917. Buried at Bailleul.”
His widow was awarded a pension of 13 shillings and nine pence a week from 17th December 1917. His surviving siblings were George, Harry, Charles, Emma, Grace and Kitty Cox.
The 1918 register of electors listed Harry and Edith Annie Cox at 25 Maltese Road. Frederick’s widow acknowledged receipt of his Victory and British War medals on 1st September 1922.
After the war she lived at Sorrento, Livermead, Torquay, Devon. She died on 19th October 1958 in Chinnor in Oxfordshire.
Frederick’s mother died in 1934.