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THE CHILDREN OF WILL AND THERESA COX

NAME
DATE AND PLACE OF BIRTH
Emma Charlotte
22 August 1866 in Cork
(William) Samuel Joseph
31 January 1881 in Aldershot
Charles Edward Cox
13 September 1890 in Kasuali, India
Henry Silas Stocker
6 June 1892 in Shwebo, Burma
George Frederick
1894 December Quarter, Plymouth
Theresa Maria ("Queenie")
1897, in Jullundur, India
Winifred
1900 in Jullundur, India. Died in Exeter aged 11. Buried in the Higher Cemetery 11 February 1911.
Reginald Francis
1903 in Jullundur, India. Died in Exeter aged 48. Buried in the Higher Cemetery 17 January 1951.
Dorothy Violetta
1906 in Plymouth

 

After the Boer War, the health of the men of the Devonshire Regiment was a cause of great concern for the War Office. In the absence of photographs, each soldier's record had a document attached like the one shown below detailing their physical features. The difference between the physique of a modern soldier and a Boer War soldier is striking. One glance at the photo sent in by Frank Phare's family tells it all - the men in the second row are standing up - the row behind are standing on chairs. These men were very small by the standards of today and you can tell, by the way their clothes hang, that they were also very thin - and that goes for all of them. Anyone who sees a number of these records is amazed to see the average height as being 5' 2" with chest measurements (fully expanded) of 35"!

 

Although he seemed to be a fine figure of a man, the Army understood what the privations of the Tirah Campaign and Ladysmith had done to Will Carr and, as his record shows, he ended his days with the regiment doing "light duties", that is to say, clerical work. He was more fortunate that many Devon lads - sent home to their villages by the Army, with no pensions and no further support, hundreds of young men, even those who had escaped wounds, were left to carry on their lives, permanently scarred by their mental and physical experiences. Those whose families could not support them were usually reduced to begging and it was not until the Great War that the public really understood what these men had been through.

 

One of the discharge documents of William Cox

A physical description of one of

Will Cox's Discharge Documents.

© William Wylie

 

When Will Cox left the Army at the end of his service contract, he held the rank of  Colour Sergeant. This was a pre-Great War infantry rank which was eventually replaced by the ranks of Company Sergeant Major and Company Quartermaster Sergeant. It is still the title used to refer to all staff sergeants in infantry regiments, no matter what their appointment.

 

The rank was introduced during the first Napoleonic Wars. Junior Officers (or Ensigns) carried the Company Colours into battle to create rallying points for the troops - a highly exposed task. The Colour Sergeant had the job of protecting the officer and, for this reason, the appointment was given to battle-hardened sergeants who had shown bravery under fire - a public recognition of courage which the other men could respect.

 

Colour Sergeants are referred to and addressed as Colour Sergeant or "Colour", never as Sergeant and today, usually form part of a Colour Party on ceremonial occasions. Other Ranks are not allowed to handle the Colours, they are always saluted when uncased and they travel everywhere with an armed escort.

 

The Devon Regiment Colours

The Colours of the

Devonshire Regiment

 

By the 1911 Census, William and Theresa Cox were settled in Exeter south of the river at 86 Regent Street, in the St. Thomas area. William had found a job as a boilerman and of his children, George, young Theresa, Reginald and Dorothy were still at home. His address is confirmed by the 1911 census and by the will which he made when he applied for his pension.

 

The will in the Army Pension Record

The Will in William Cox's Pension Record

©William Wylie

 

CONTINUED

 

 
 
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