Frederick Ratcliffe Cox
Samuel Henry Cox was born in Salford about 1842. In 1871 he was a clerk in a stationery department and in 1881 a stationer. His wife, Jane, was born in Manchester about 1844. In 1871 they lived at 15 Robson St, Hulme, and in 1881 at 18 Atkinson St, Stretford. They had at least 4 children, Frederick William (Frederick Ratcliffe’s father), James Henry, born about 1866, Evelyn, born about 1867, and Joseph, born about 1870. James became a silk cloth warehouseman.
Frederick’s father was Frederick William Cox, born in Hulme on 1 September 1863. He was baptised on 25 December 1864. By the age of 17 he was a grey cloth warehouseman. His wife was Mary Hannah Ratcliffe, daughter of John Ratcliffe, a turner. Mary was born in Manchester about 1865. They were married at St George’s church, Manchester, on 28 September 1889. In 1891 they lived at 262 Ashton New Rd, Beswick, with Frederick Ratcliffe, aged 7 months. In 1901 they lived at 19 Northen Grove, West Didsbury, and were still there in 1911. In 1901 Frederick Snr was described as a grey cloth buyer and in 1911 as a cotton cloth buyer, shipping merchant. Frederick and Mary had 5 children but one had died by 1911. The others, all born in Manchester, were Frederick Ratcliffe, William, born about 1893, Percy, born about 1897, and Edward, born about 1903.
Frederick was born in Manchester on 23 August 1890. He attended William Hulme’s Grammar School from 1901 to 1906. At school he excelled at cricket and football, playing in the first teams. He was prominent on school sports days in the 100 yard sprint and throwing the cricket ball. He later played for the South Manchester Cricket Club. On leaving school, Frederick became a mercantile clerk with Ralli Brothers of Stanley St, Salford.
The 5 Ralli brothers came from a Greek expatriot family. Their father started in business in Marseille but in the aftermath of the Napoleonic wars he sent the oldest son to London to explore business opportunities. The Ralli Building in Manchester was near the site of the Mark Addy pub and was demolished in 1985.
Frederick enlisted in September 1914 in B Company, 20th Battalion, Royal Fusiliers, service number PS/4659, the PS signifying Public Schools. This was one of the Pals battalions. Frederick trained at Epsom and Leatherhead, at Clipstone Camp near Mansfield, and finally at Tidworth on Salisbury Plain. He served with the Expeditionary Force in France and Flanders from 12 November 1915. On 3 May 1916 Frederick was engaged in constructing a new trench in the Cuinchy area when he was caught in a flurry of shells and mortally wounded in the chest. At the time of his death he held the rank of serjeant and was 25 years old. His body was recovered and buried in the Cambrin Churchyard Extension, Pas de Calais, grave reference F. 5. The inscription reads “Faithful unto death”. He left his effects of £191 11s 3d to his mother.