|Date of Birth||February 18, 1897|
|Place of Birth||Gravenhurst, Ontario|
|Next of Kin||Hugh Cox (father), Kenora, Ontario|
|Trade / Calling||Teamster|
|Religion||Church of England|
|Service Record||Link to Service Record|
|Force||Canadian Expeditionary Force|
|Enlisted / Conscripted||Conscripted|
|Address at Enlistment||Tyndall, Manitoba|
|Date of Enlistment||January 9, 1918|
|Age at Enlistment||20|
|Theatre of Service||Europe|
|Prisoner of War||No|
|Date of Death||March 12, 1972|
|Age at Death||75|
|Buried At||Lake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora, Ontario|
Private Charles Edward Cox was called up in January 1918 and sent to France to serve with the 78th Battalion (Winnipeg Grenadiers). He was injured in a motor lorry accident in October 1918 and he spent almost a year recovering at hospitals in England and Canada.
Charles Edward (or Edwin) was born on 18 February 1897 in Gravenhurst, District of Muskoka, Ontario. He was the third of nine children of Hugh Cox and Mary Melinda Long. He had six brothers (Dennis, William John, Adam, Ambrose, Stacey and Hughie) and two sisters (Armintha or ‘Minnie’ and Ellen Jane). His parents were married in 1892 in Uffington, a small village near Gravenhurst. The first six children were born in Ryde Township, which is now part of the town of Gravenhurst. Hugh worked there as a farmer and farm labourer. 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 moved to Kenora, Ontario where they lived for several years before returning to Manitoba.
Dennis Hartman Cox, the oldest son, enlisted in Selkirk, Manitoba in December 1915. He was killed at the Battle of Vimy Ridge on 9 April 1917 and he’s buried in a cemetery in France. Conscription started in Canada in the fall of 1917 and single men aged 20 to 34 were required to register. Charles reported in Winnipeg on 14 November and his medical found him fit for overseas service. He was working as a teamster at the time and living in Tyndall but his father was still in Kenora. Charles was called up on 9 January 1918 and assigned to the 1st Depot Battalion, Manitoba Regiment. In April he contracted the mumps and he spent three weeks recovering at the Manitoba Military Hospital in Tuxedo Park, Winnipeg. He headed overseas two months later with the 3rd Draft of the depot battalion, embarking from Halifax on 16 June on the SS Pannonia. He arrived in Liverpool on 28 June and he was transferred to the 18th Reserve Battalion that same day.
The Canadians were heavily involved in the last months of the war and reinforcements were needed to replace casualties in front line units. On 26 September Charles was transferred to the 78th Battalion (Winnipeg Grenadiers) and sent to France. He joined his new unit in the field on 2 October in a draft of 100 reinforcements. On the night of 6 October his battalion was moved by motor lorry from Quéant to Haute-Avesnes. The lorry Charles was travelling in was struck by a train at a railway crossing and he was thrown onto the road, suffering severe leg, head and back injuries. Both the tibia and fibula in his lower left leg were broken. He was evacuated to No. 30 Casualty Clearing Station where he had an operation before being moved to No. 22 General Hospital in Camiers. Later in October he was admitted to the 1st Birmingham War Hospital in England, where he spent the next five months recovering. He was transferred to No. 11 Canadian General Hospital in March 1919 and in June he was moved to No. 5 General Hospital in Liverpool to await his return to Canada.
On 30 June Charles embarked from Liverpool on the hospital ship Araguaya, arriving back home in July via Portland, Maine. He was given two weeks landing leave before continuing his recovery at the Manitoba Military Hospital in Winnipeg. He was released from the hospital on 18 September and discharged from the army on 23 September. His brothers William John and Adam both served in Canada.
After the war Charles settled in Oak Lake, Manitoba where he took up farming. He was married in Brandon on 15 August 1924 to 19-year-old Violet Margaret Meadows. Violet came from a large family and she grew up just west of Brandon, where her father farmed. Charles and Violet divorced in April 1938. Charles enlisted again in the Second World War, signing up in Brandon in November 1941 and serving in Canada for nine months. He was discharged in August 1942 as medically unfit. His father and brothers Adam and Ambrose had moved back to Kenora and when his father died there in 1951 Charles was living in Winnipeg. Charles returned to Kenora himself in the late 1960s and he passed away in the Kenora hospital on 12 March 1972, at age 75. He’s buried in the veterans section of Lake of the Woods Cemetery.
By Becky Johnson