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William Cox - H.M.S Good Hope.

William Cox – H.M.S Good Hope.

Every name on a memorial has a story behind behind it, but some names stand out more than others and different names stand out for different people. The name William Cox stands out for me in this Roll of Honour because he clearly served in the Royal Navy, were as those listed above him served in British Army units more familiar to me. I knew nothing about the H.M.S Good Hope; was William Cox lost at sea?

Ship’s Cook William Cox (347466), along side 919 officers and men, of the Drake Class armoured cruiser H.M.S Good Hope, including Rear Admiral Christopher Cradock, who was using the Good Hope as his flag ship, and four Midshipman of the newly formed Royal Canadian Navy, were killed in action at the Battle of Coronel.

Rear Admiral Cradock’s British Fouth Cruiser Squadron engaged the superior forces of Admiral Maximillian Von Spee’s German East Asiatic Squadron on the 1st November 1914, off the Chilean coast. By the end of the battle H.M.S Good Hope and H.M.S Monmouth had been sunk with the loss of all hands.

Although I could not find any further biographical information about Ship’s Cook William Cox, detailed biographies of Rear Admiral Christopher Cradock are available and he strikes me as a very interesting character. In 1904 he received a testimonial from the Royal Humane Society for jumping over board into Palmas Bay, at night, to save the life of a drowning Midshipman. In 1911 he received The Board of Trade Medal for Saving Life at Sea for his part in the rescuing of passengers from the SS. Delhi, which ran aground off Cape Spartel.

Admiral Maximillian Von Spee’s Squadron attempted to raid the Falkland Island on the 8th December 1914 and was surprised by a superior force of British warships, reinforced following the Battle of Coronel. Six German warships were lost following the Battle of the Falkland Island, including Admiral Von Spee’s flagship, which capsized with the loss of all hands, including the Admiral himself.

It is amazing what you can learning from researching only one name on a memorial…


The Coronel Memorial http://www.coronel.org.uk/description.php 

The Roll of Honour: A Biographical Record of all Member of His Majesty’s Naval and Military Forces who have fallen in the War, Volume I, page 96. Available on-line at https://archive.org/details/rollofhonourbiog01ruvi