LEWIS FREDERICK COX (1891 -25th May 1915)

Although Lewis is commemorated on both the St Mary’s and St James’ Church memorial, it has not been possible to find anything linking him directly to Langford.

It seems likely that he was born in Butcombe in 1891, the eleventh of a family of fourteen children.  All but one were still living in 1911. Their parents were William (born in Cleeve in 1851) and Sarah Ann (born in Bath about 1852).  From 1874 they had Alice, Hester, Agnes, Willis, Herbert, Margaret, Elsie, Mabel, Oliver and Laura before Lewis in 1891, then Reginald, Edwin and Leonard. The older children were born in Congresbury or Wrington but in 1891 they were in Butcombe, in 1901 in Blagdon (Merecombe) and in 1911 in Nempnett. In the 1901 census, Sarah and her older daughters are described as laundresses and William as a small farmer. In 1911 William is recorded as a farmer and Edwin is working with him.

In the 1911 census Lewis is recorded as a nineteen year old private living in Pembroke Barracks but with his occupation given as “collier”. It was not uncommon for local lads to look for work in the Welsh mines and possibly he had been working in the mines immediately prior to joining the army. He may have been a territorial soldier at this stage. As such he would have been called up at the beginning of the war.  His military records state that he enlisted in Cardiff as a Private in the 1st Battalion Welsh Regiment, service number 9953. Military records are a little confused – his residence is given as “Blagdon, Glos”.

Lewis entered France on 1st April 1915 and was killed in action on the 25th May 1915. His name is on Panel 37 of the Ypres Menin Gate Memorial. His Commonwealth War Commission certificate gives his name as Lewis Frederick Blagdon Cox and records no next of kin. No notice of his death has been found in the Weston Mercury.

At least two of Lewis’s brothers served in the war and are listed on Blagdon’s roll of honour; Reginald James, born 1894, in the Gloucestershire Regiment (possibly 201380) and Edwin Ferris, born 1897, West Somerset Yeomanry 1518, then Somerset Light Infantry 27167. Both brothers are recorded on the 1925 electoral roll (but not in 1930) as living at Churchill Park Congresbury but within the Churchill Parish. Churchill Park Farm was in Ladymead Lane, Langford. Lewis’s nearest sister, Laura Beatrice born 1889, married Alfred Dare in 1916. They lived in Stock Lane near to Alfred’s parents, Alfred and Ellen, who were at Park View, Churchill. Alfred and Laura had three children, Francis in 1917, Dennis in 1920 and Joyce in 1922. These sibling links may explain why Lewis was commemorated on the Langford and Churchill Memorials.