Kenora Great War Project

 

Personal Details
Date of BirthJune 8, 1886
Place of BirthBristol
CountryEngland
Marital StatusMarried
Next of KinMaud Frances Cox, (wife), 8 - 9th Avenue South, Kenora. James Henry Cox (father in Bristol)
Trade / CallingFireman
ReligionChurch of England
Service Details
Regimental Number439113
Service Record Link to Service Record
Battalion52nd Battalion
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Infantry
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Place of EnlistmentKenora, Ontario
Address at Enlistment8 - 9th Avenue South, Kenora, Ontario
Date of EnlistmentMarch 29, 1915
Age at Enlistment28
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathDecember 11, 1973
Age at Death87
Buried AtLake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora, Ontario
Plot56E-39-2

Cox, Edwin Walter

Ted was the youngest of the 6 children of James Henry Cox and Emma Jane Cox (formerly Smith). His siblings were Willie James (1872-1917), Alice Louise (1874-1962), Frederick Henry (1876-1959), James Arthur (1878-1936), and Florence Ada (1881-1929). On the census taken in England during 1911 he was shown as a 24 year old fireman with the Great Western Railroad still living with his parents in Bristol. On June 1, 1912 he married Maud Frances Knight and they embarked on the ‘Royal George’ at Avonmouth. They arrived in Quebec on 19 June 1912 en route to Kenora following his brother, Fred, who had emigrated in 1907.

On March 29 1915 Ted enlisted like many other British ex-patriots and by June was on his way to camp at Port Arthur (Thunder Bay, Ontario) to join other units of the 52nd Battalion. He left behind his wife and two young  daughters who soon left for England to be closer to Ted in the front lines.

By December  Ted was back in England for training before heading to France. About a hundred Kenora men made the journey with Ted across the Atlantic ocean on the troopship ‘SS California’ landing at Plymouth on December 3rd. After 8 weeks of training the 52nd battalion sailed from Southampton and arrived in France to a snow storm. Ted had two blankets like everyone else. After a night spent in tents they took a train ride to Belgium. When they arrived they were billeted to farmhouses, all but one who was admitted to hospital with threatened pneumonia.

By March 7th the men of the 52nd battalion were in the trenches and on March 10 at 11pm they relieved the 24th battalion in the front lines. Quiet night, no casualties! However that didn’t last, shelling and machine gun fire, even enemy aircraft  which were fired at but not hit. On Ted’s 30th birthday it was reported shelling ‘insistently throughout the day’. A week after his birthday there was a muster parade and reported 272 rank and file casualties, a quarter of the battalion. Ted’s 31st birthday was at Vimy Ridge.

At the end of October Ted was at Passchendaele during the operation at Bellevue Spur. The Battalion won accolades from the British and Canadian High Command, many medals were awarded for individual valour, but suffered many casualties. Ted received several gunshot wounds to his left arm and side and it was reported that Sgt. Cox was ‘dangerously ill’ at the 2nd Australian General Hospital at Eirmeroux, France. He was invalided back to England where he spent time hospitalized until he was returned to Kenora in October 1918. Ted’s wife and two children also returned to Kenora in October of 1918, arriving in Montreal on the LLanstephan Castle on October 9th.  Ted’s brother James had served during the war with the British Royal Navy.

Altogether Ted and Maud had five children: Edna Lillian (1914-2001), Ethel Edwina (1915-1991), Stanley Edwin (1919-2006), William James (1921-1966), and Douglas Charles (1927-1976).

After the war Ted was employed as Governor of the Provincial Jail, retiring in 1955. He was a member of the Kenora Branch of the Canadian Legion, the IOOF Lodge, the Masonic Lodge, the Lake of the Woods Officers’ Institute, and St Alban’s Pro Cathedral.

Predeceased by his parents and all of his siblings, his wife Maud in 1950, and son William in 1966, Ted died at Pinecrest Home for the Aged in  Kenora on 11 Dec 1973. He is buried beside Maud in the Lake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora. At the time of his death he was survived by sons Stan and Douglas of Kenora, daughter Edna (Douglas) Rioch, also of Kenora, and daughter Ethel (James) McCardle of Weyburn, Saskatchewan. He was also survived by six grandchildren and four great grandchildren.


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