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COX, Francis Edward Dellit (1895-1966)

COX, Francis Edward Dellit (1895-1966)

Francis Cox attended Flemington State School before boarding at Geelong College where he was enrolled in February 1911. He only attended that year departing in December 1911. His entry address was recorded as 'Deletta', Stubb Street, Kensington. After leaving College he worked as a cabinet maker. He was the son of Francis Kipling Cox and Ada nee Dellit and had been born in September 1895.

He enlisted (No 21588) in the AIF as a Private on 20 November 1917 in the Field Company Engineers (Special Draft Reinforcements), serving as a sapper. He embarked for France on HMAT A71 Nestor on 28 February 1918, where he transferred to 49 Battalion.

With the collapse of Russia in October 1917, a major German offensive on the Western Front was expected in early 1918. This occurred in France in late March and the Fourth Division moved to defend positions around the Dernancourt on the River Ancre. The 49 Battalion assisted in the repulse of a large German attack on 5 April, launching a critical counter-attack late in the afternoon. The German threat remained until late April, and in the early hours of 25 April 1918 the 49th participated in the now legendary attack to dislodge the enemy from Villers-Bretonneux. When the Allies launched their own offensive in early August, 49 Battalion was among the units involved and played an active role until the middle of that month, before moving to duties in the rear area. The battalion was ordered forward for its last major operation of the war in September and provided part of the 4th Division’s reserve for the attack on the Hindenburg ‘outpost line’ on the 18th. The 49th Battalion was disbanded on 9 May 1919.

Francis Cox returned to Australia, embarking on 19 August 1919. He died in 1966.

Sources: Based on an edited extract from Geelong Collegians at the Great War compiled by James Affleck; Pp 159-160 (citing Pegasus; Australian War Memorial; National Archives).
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