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Samuel Cox was born in Wigan in about 1894. His parents were Samuel John and Alice Cox who resided at 27 Upper Monis Street, Wigan.

He enlisted into the Army Reserves as a Special Reservist soldier in January 1913 and was given the number 2130. At this time he was 19 years old and was employed as a coal miner. The medical officer described Samuel as being 5ft 5in tall, weighing 131lbs, with brown hair and blue eyes. That March he attained a 3rd class certificate of education.

Samuel was present during the mandatory training camp of 1914 and when War broke out in the August he was mobilized and posted into the 1st (Regular) Battalion for active service. Following a period of training in the UK, on 20th September 1914 Private Cox sailed to France to join his Battalion in the field.

There are conflicting reports about when and where Samuel died. CWGC and SDGW both show his date of death as being the 1st February 1915 at Gheluvelt near Ypres – However, 1st LNLR were nowhere near Ypres in February 1915, they were in Bethune, France and had been for some time. CWGC also states he died as a prisoner of war in Germany, however his name has not been found in the British Red Cross records and his papers make no mention at all of this.

On 7th December 1914 a Mr James Reid of 129 Platt Lane, Wigan wrote to the Army to enquire about Samuel as he had ‘heard that he is badly wounded’. He wrote again on 14th February 1915 to say that his (Samuel’s) parents had ‘received news of his death through the American Ambassador having been mortally wounded at La Basse in October’. – Note. 1st LNL weren’t at La Basse in October, but they did suffer great losses there on 22nd December. I believe the news from the Ambassador to be correct, but the place of his wounding being wrong as it was written several months after the event, and post La Basse.

To murk the waters a little more, there are also notes in his papers to say he was reported missing on 23rd November 1914 and 22nd December 1914. We can rule out the 23rd November as the Battalion were in Hazebrouck refitting on this date, and 22nd December has already been discounted due to the locality of the memorial and original report.

It is highly likely that Samuel Cox was wounded on 31st October 1914 at Gheluvelt near Ypres and was buried by Germans on the battlefield (confirmed in his service papers). He was definitely reported missing on 31st October and is remembered on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial which ties in with both the date and locality, and finally James Reid’s letter pre-dates La Basse. An account of the actions on 31st October can be read HERE.

Samuel’s parents would  later take receipt of his 1914 Star and Clasp, British War Medal and Victory Medal. They would also receive the Memorial Plaque and Scroll in recognition of their son’s sacrifice.

Rank: Private
Service No: 2130
Date of Death: 01/02/1915   31/10/1914
Age: 21
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 1st Bn.

Paul McCormick
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One Response to 2130 PTE. S. COX. L.N.LAN.R

  1. Mike Cox says:

    Very interesting article Sam was my grandads brother many thanks again. I know hes on the memorial in Wigan Parish church yard.
    Many thanks

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