Proud Harwood teacher gets Arctic Star medal on behalf of her late father

Proud Harwood teacher gets Arctic Star medal on behalf of her late father

Jack Cox and his wife Ruth. Far left, a menu from Christmas Day 1942 when he served on HMS Anson

A menu from Christmas Day 1942 when he served on HMS Anson

First published in News The Bolton News: Photograph of the Author by , reporter

A PROUD teacher from Harwood has secured an Arctic Star medal on behalf of her late father who endured horrifying conditions serving in the Navy.

John Alfred "Jack" Cox was a gunner on HMS Anson and sailed in Murmansk in the Arctic Ocean between 1942 and 1944, helping the Russians fight off invading Nazi soldiers.

His daughter Jan Pierce, aged 66, applied for the medal about two years ago when the government first announced it would be available.

The former teacher at St Thomas Primary in Halliwell finally received it last month and plans to keep the medal in the family for generations to come.

Mrs Pierce, who lives in Astley Road, said: “I saw in The Bolton News an article saying families could apply.

“It has taken two years to get it, and I had to send all the details of dad’s time in the Navy and proof I am related to him.

“I don’t think he would have sent for this himself but it’s nice to have for us. I will be able to pass this on to my sons, Andrew and David, and they will pass it on to their families.”

Mr Cox joined the Navy aged 18 in 1940 and was the youngest of 13 children brought up in the East End of London.

In 1943, he married Ruth, who gave birth to their first child, Jan, in October 1947, nine months after he was demobbed from the service.

Mrs Pierce, who has lived in Bolton for 28 years after being brought up in Shoreditch, added that her father rarely spoke of his war experiences.

She said: “The only thing I ever knew was that the top part of his legs were always numb, from when he contracted frostbite.

“Because of his responsibilities, he would be sitting outside, with his body exposed.

“He was only 18, which is so young to go through something like this.

“It is staggering what they went through.”

Mr Cox died of prostate cancer in 1991 in Bournemouth, while his wife died six years later.

Mrs Pierce’s husband Alan, who used to teach at Canon Slade, said: “He was a typical Cockney and was an extrovert, but underneath all that he was a shy, sensitive person.

“He was very intelligent.

“He lost a scholarship to go to a grammar school by one or two marks.

“He would have achieved a lot had he had the education.”

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