Arthur became an estate woodman and, aged 23, volunteered early in the war. He was in the trenches during the Christmas truce in 1914.
Born at Fencott
Arthur Cox was born close to Murcott at Fencott in 1890/1. He was the oldest child of Jesse and Emily Cox. By 1911 he had four siblings and the family had moved a few miles to Horton-cum-Studley. He was 20 and had taken up his father’s occupation, as an estate woodman.
Arthur volunteered early and joined the 2nd Battalion of the Oxford and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry as a Private. This professional unit had gone to France in August 1914 and fought at Mons and the Marne, sustaining heavy losses. Arthur was sent among reinforcements in November 1914.
He arrived during a lull in the fighting. The opposing lines of trenches were close enough for shouted conversations with English-speaking Germans, and at various times informal truces were agreed at different parts of the front. This was the year of the famous Christmas truce, at a bitterly cold time, involving a total of about 100,000 soldiers.
First action, at night
Arthur went into battle on 15 May 1915 at Richebourg l’Avoue in the first British night attack of the war. It resulted in the regiment’s highest casualties in a single action for more than a hundred years. Arthur did not return and his body was not recovered. He was recorded as dying on 16 May at the age of 24, and is remembered on Le Touret memorial in France.