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Person Details
10 Aug 1881
He was the husband of Florence Elizabeth Cox née Howett, whom he married in (Apl/May/June) 1910 in Luton, Bedfordshire. In 1911 they lived at 5 Blenheim Terrace, Raleigh Street, Nottingham. He and Florence had one child. They may have moved by the time he rejoined the Royal Navy in 1914 as the RN & RM War Graves Roll gives his address as Arthur Terrace, Independent Street, Nottingham. He also had a brother, Fred, and a sister, Florrie.
He was an engineer's labourer in 1911. He joined Boots about four years before the outbreak of war, working in the fitting shop on Island Street.
01 Nov 1914
2870914 - CWGC Website
Able Seaman
HMS Good Hope Royal Navy
Cox was a former regular who had served for thirteen years in HM ships, Ganges, Jupiter, Mars, Venus, Wanderer, Agincourt, Philomel, Monarch, Gladiator and Royal Sovereign. Cox was one of the survivors when HMS Gladiator was rammed and sunk by the American liner, St Paul. He served in Philomel during the South African War and was in the party that took naval guns overland to assist in the relief of Ladysmith. Cox was awarded the South African medal with 5 clasps. He was eventually invalided out of the Navy after he contracted pneumonia when he was washed from a boat in the North Sea and stranded overnight on rocky islet. Reserve Number, RFR/PO/B/5348. He served in HMS Good Hope when he rejoined on the outbreak of war and was killed when the ship was lost at the Battle of Coronel. His body was not recovered for burial and he is commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial (Panel Reference 2). HMS Good Hope was a Drake Class armoured cruiser built in 1901. By 1914 she was Rear Admiral Sir Christopher George Cradock’s flag ship which, along with HMS Monmouth and other British vessels of 4th Cruiser Squadron, encountered Vice Admiral von Spee’s Scharnhorst and Gneisenau forty five miles off the Chilean port of Coronel. The German ships were faster and more heavily armed than Cradock’s fleet. The sun set at 18:50 on November 1st 1914, which silhouetted the British ships against the light sky while the German ships became indistinguishable from the shoreline behind them. Spee immediately turned to close and signalled his ships to open fire at 19:04 when the range closed to 12,300 yards. Spee's flagship, Scharnhorst, engaged Good Hope while Gneisenau fired at Monmouth. Cradock's flagship was hit on the Scharnhorst's third salvo, when shells knocked out her forward 9.2-inch turret and set her forecastle on fire. Cradock, knowing his only chance was to close the range, continued to do so despite the battering that Spee's ships inflicted. By 19:23 the range was almost half of that when the battle began and the British ships bore onwards. Spee tried to open the range, fearing a torpedo attack, but the British were only 5,500 yards away at 19:35. Seven minutes later, Good Hope charged directly at the German ships, although they dodged out of her way. Spee ordered his armoured cruisers to concentrate their fire on the British flagship which had drifted to a halt with her topsides ablaze. At 19:50 her forward magazine exploded, severing the bow from the rest of the ship, and she later sank in the darkness. Von Spee estimated that his flagship had made 35 hits on Good Hope, suffering only two hits in return that did no significant damage and failed even to wound one crewman. Good Hope was sunk with all hands, a total of 919 officers and men. Good Hope and Monmouth’s ship’s companies mainly comprised reservists whereas von Spee’s crews were well trained and experienced. There were just two other British ships in the squadron, the light cruiser HMS Glasgow and the armed merchant cruiser Otranto, neither of which were a threat to von Spee’s modern ships which had a greater fire-power than those of the British Squadron. The captain of Cradock’s flagship, HMS Good Hope, was Captain Philip Francklin, who was a career officer and came from Gonalston Nottinghamshire (he is commemorated on the Gonalston memorial). A postscript to the battle is that von Spee’s squadron was destroyed and he and his two sons killed, when the Royal Navy under Admiral Sturdee exacted retribution six weeks later at the Battle of the Falkland Islands 8 December 1914.
Nottingham Evening Post obituary (abridged), 25 November 1914: ‘Cox lost off Chilean Coast November 1st on HMS Good Hope, Charles Albine AB, husband of Florence Cox. Also 'In Memoriam' 1 November 1915: 'Cox Charles Albine, HMS Good Hope. Wife and child, mother and brother Fred, sister Florrie.’ Nottingham Post 'in memoriam' notice (abridged), 22 November 1915: 'Cox. Charles A Cox, lost in HMS Good Hope November 914. Brother Frederick Cox, Sergeant RMA, HMS Indomitable, Grand Fleet.' There is a biography of Cox in the Boots' wartime magazine, 'Comrades in Khaki', which was published for the first few years of the war (Nottinghamshire Archives, RB.38). The details of his Naval service and some personal details are taken from the article in the magazine. Cox was described in the article in the following manner; 'His genial nature and ready helpfulness endeared him to all with whom he came into contact; and when he rejoined his old service on the outbreak of war he left behind him none but friends who now mourn the loss sustained by his widow and his three year old child.' Boots 'Comrades in Khaki' August 1915, 'Letters from the Front': one of the letters is from a Sgt Brady (who survived the war) in which he praised the book of Boots Roll of Honour, 'which I think is a very good think indeed. I have been so proud of mine that I have shown it to my officers and men, who all say that it's a splendid book.' He then adds, 'Charlie Cox's photo is a very good one indeed. Poor chap!' (Nottinghamshire Archives, RB. 38)
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