24th December 1915

Captain George Pottinger Cox was killed in action on Christmas Eve 1915, aged 22, serving with the 1st Battalion, Essex Regiment. His surname, Cox, was actually the name of his step-father, by which he seems to have been known after the remarriage of his widowed mother when he was aged one. His birth surname was Innocent.

He was born on 15th January 1893 in Tientsin [Tianjin], China where his father and grandfather had both been Methodist missionaries.  His parents, Rev. George Morrison Hallam Innocent and Florence Elizabeth Pottinger had married in England in February 1892 whilst Rev. Innocent was on furlough from his missionary post, having attended the Methodist Conference 1891 in Leeds. In April 1892, the newlyweds set sail from London aboard the S.S. Glengyle. However, midway on the journey, Rev. Innocent was taken ill with haemorrhagic purpura and died on 30th May 1892, about 138 miles from Hong Kong. The ship put into port there next day and Rev. Innocent was buried in Happy Valley Cemetery, aged 32.

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30th July 1915

There seems to be some confusion over the date of death of Lieutenant Rev. Frederick Edward Barwick Hulton-Sams, with some sources (e.g. Commonwealth War Graves website, Soldiers Died in the Great War) giving his date of death as 30th July 1915 and others (e.g. his memorial plaque, Soldiers’ Effects register) as 31st July 1915.

Similarly, there is confusion over his date of birth, with some sources reporting it as 21st November 1881, and others as the 22nd or 23rd.

He was the eldest of the three sons and five daughters of Rev. George Frederick Sams and his wife Sarah Beatrix (née Hulton) and was baptised by his father at Emberton parish church, Buckinghamshire on 9th December 1881. He was educated at Bedford Grammar School 1893-5 before attending Harrow and then going on to Trinity College, Cambridge, where he was a boxing blue.

He was ordained as a clergyman at St Paul’s, Balsall Heath, Birmingham and served as a curate there. The local connection is that he also apparently served as curate at the Mission Church, Kingswood, Lapworth, which was in the Solihull Rural District at the time of the war. The Mission Church was founded in 1886 by William Lees, primarily to cater for domestic staff employed by the gentry. The present building in Station Lane was built in 1902 and is now the Lees Chapel independent evangelical church.

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