|Date of Birth||June 15, 1895|
|Place of Birth||Gravenhurst, Ontario|
|Next of Kin||Mr. Hughie Cox (father), Kenora, Ontario|
|Trade / Calling||Labourer|
|Service Record||Link to Service Record|
|Force||Canadian Expeditionary Force|
|Branch||Canadian Garrison Regiment|
|Enlisted / Conscripted||Conscripted|
|Address at Enlistment||Kenora, Ontario|
|Date of Enlistment||February 8, 1918|
|Age at Enlistment||22|
|Theatre of Service||Canada|
|Prisoner of War||No|
|Date of Death||October 28, 1941|
|Age at Death||46|
|Buried At||St. Clement's (Mapleton) Church Cemetery, St. Andrew's, Manitoba|
Private William John Cox was one of four brothers who served in the First World War. He was called up in 1918 and he spent a year with the Canadian Garrison Regiment in Halifax.
William John, usually known as John, was born on 15 June 1895 in Gravenhurst, District of Muskoka, Ontario. He was the second oldest son of Hugh Cox and Mary Melinda Long. He had at least eight brothers and sisters: Dennis, Charles, Adam, Ambrose, Stacey, Hughie, Armintha or ‘Minnie’ and Ellen Jane. His parents were married in 1892 and their first six children were born in Ryde Township, which is now part of the town of Gravenhurst. Around 1905 the family moved to Manitoba and settled in the Beausejour area, northeast of Winnipeg. For the 1906 census they were listed in the village of Tyndall and in 1911 they were in Molson. The youngest child was born in June 1911 and Mary died about six weeks later. Afterwards Hugh and some of the boys, including John, moved to Kenora, Ontario where they lived for several years.
John’s oldest brother Dennis Hartman Cox was killed on 9 April 1917 at the Battle of Vimy Ridge. Conscription started in Canada in August 1917 and single men aged 20 to 34 were required to register that fall. John reported in Winnipeg on 24 November and his medical found him fit for overseas service. He was called up on 8 February 1918 and assigned to the 1st Depot Battalion, Manitoba Regiment. He was living in Kenora at the time, working as a labourer, with his father Hugh listed as his next of kin. In April John became ill with tonsillitis and he spent three weeks recovering in St. Boniface Hospital in Winnipeg. That spring the Canadian Garrison Regiment was formed to provide garrison duty in Canada, with one battalion organized in each military district. In July John was transferred to the 6th Battalion, Canadian Garrison Regiment, which was based in Halifax. In January 1919 he became ill again, this time with appendicitis, and he was admitted to Camp Hill Hospital in Halifax. He was there for five weeks and he had an operation during that time. John served with the 6th Battalion for another five months, getting discharged on demobilization on 24 July in Halifax. His brother Charles Edward had also been conscripted and he was invalided home from England that same month. Their brother Adam served in Canada for about six months.
When the 1921 census was taken John was living with his father in East Kildonan, Manitoba. He was married on 3 September 1930, at age 35, to Elizabeth Sutherland (née Harper). Elizabeth had five children from her first marriage. Her son Leonard Sutherland served with the Royal Winnipeg Rifles in the Second World War. John and Elizabeth made their home in Selkirk, Manitoba, where they lived on Eveline Street. John passed away in Winnipeg on 28 October 1941, at age 46. His funeral, with military honours, was held in Selkirk on 31 October and he’s buried at St. Clement’s Anglican Church Cemetery in St. Andrew’s. Elizabeth later married Alex Weinberger and she died in 1986, at age 91. She’s also buried at St. Clements Cemetery, along with other family members.
By Becky Johnson
A photo of John’s grave marker is on billiongraves.com.