Story contributed by Shaun Brown, grandson
Charles Frederick Cox was born in Ely and grew up in a small village near by, but then moved to Lode, then Sawston and finally Stapleford. At the outbreak of war he tried to join up at the Ely recruitment centre but, as he was too young, they turned him away. However, he was accepted at the Bury St Edmund’s office. He was eventually conscripted into the 27th Training Reserve Battalion, then to the 24th Battalion of the same regiment, before finally transferring to the 3rd Battalion, the Queen’s (Royal West Surrey Regiment (QWRS)) on 29 November 1917.
He was sent to France at the end of March 1918, and was posted to the 8th Battalion QRWS where he was one of 13 drivers , judging by an unusual uniform worn in a family photo. On 20 August 1918 he was hospitalised with impetigo and re-joined his fellow soldiers on 23 November 1918. Charles formed part of the Rhine occupation in the post-Armistice period, later transferring to the 10th Battalion of QWRS. He then went on to join 296 Company of the Royal Army Service Corps in May 1919, later serving with 1 Company, Rhine Garrison Train. He suffered with trench foot during the war but this didn’t seem to stop him as he became a train driver. He had a wound stripe on his arm, but, unfortunately, no one knows what happened to him, and he also had a good conduct stripe. He was finally demobilised on 24 March 1920.
Sadly, his records were amongst the ones burnt in a fire that destroyed a number of records, most likely during the Blitz in World War Two. His medals are still held by the family, after his death in 1975.
Charles had a brother who joined 3rd Battalion, Rifles Brigade in 1914, but sadly died near Hooge.