John was born in Hanford, Staffordshire, in about 1894, the son of George and Elizabeth Cox. By 1901, they were living at 174 Limes Road, Tettenhall, and the household consisted of John, his parents, and siblings William, Elizabeth, Nellie, George, Lillian and Frederick Arthur. In 1911, the family had moved to 6 Byrne Road, Blakenhall, Wolverhampton, and John and his parents were joined by his remaining siblings Nellie, Lillian and Frederick Arthur. By this date, John was an iron moulder.
On 20 August 1914, John enlisted in the 3rd Battalion of the King’s Royal Rifle Corps (number Y/1100). He landed in France on 7 March 1915, but was killed in action on 9 May 1915. On 25 October 1915, his personal effects, consisting of 2 coins, a pendant, a bag, letters, a photo and a pocket book, were returned to his mother, Elizabeth. Both the Express & Star (5 June 1915) and the Midland Counties Express (12 June 1915) carried news of his death. The former newspaper also mentioned that one of John’s elder brothers was a prisoner of war in Germany. John’s service records states that both William and Frederick were serving in France and Germany respectively, so presumably this refers to William as Frederick was younger. John is remembered at the Ypres (Menin Gate) memorial.