Tribute to remember a celebrated St Albans Burma Campaign veteran

[Left to right:] Reg Lewis, Richard Day, Reg Cox, Cllr Geoff Harrison
[Left to right:] Re

[Left to right:] Reg Lewis, Richard Day, Reg Cox, Cllr Geoff Harrison [Left to right:] Reg Lewis, Richard Day, Reg Cox, Cllr Geoff Harrison - Credit: Archant

Tributes have been paid to a well-known Burma Star veteran who has died aged 93.

After training in print reproduction on Fleet Street, Reg Cox was a Royal Marines photographer on the HMS White Bear during the Burma Campaign, during which time he had many adventures.

These include journeying down to Siligouri by train and catching stunning views of both Mount Kinchingjunga and Everest.

After returning to Britain he took on a variety of careers, including in a bookshop, as a housemaster in a home for deprived children, and at The Sun printers in Watford.

At the time the Suez Crisis broke out in 1956, Reg picked up his camera and went to Kitwe in the Copperbelt of Northern Rhodesia, to manage a mobile bookshop.

For his first few days in Africa, Reg lived in a Rondarval - a one-room circular building, but he later moved to somewhere called Cox’s Cottage - coincidentally it was not named after Reg, but before.

Throughout his life he was a keen cyclist, and would sometimes ride with world record breaking sportsman Tommy Godwin.

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As a selfless person, Reg and his wife Christine later ran a Christian youth group from their house, called the Cox’s - for three decades weekly speakers came to teach teenagers about faith.

He was presented with the Burma Star accolade in 1999 by his former old commanding officer, Sir David Haslam, and in his role as chairman of the St Albans Burma Star Association, Reg was known for reciting the Kohima Epitaph on Remembrance Day and other commemorations.

On Reg’s 90th birthday a bench was installed in Jersey Farm Woodland Park and unveiled by the then-mayor of St Albans, Annie Brewster. It is close to the war memorial in tribute to the Royal Naval Association, The LST and Landing Craft Association, and the British Korean Veterans Association and has been used during Remembrance services.

Reg’s daughter, Jo Gill said: “He was incredibly cheerful and friendly and he chatted to anybody. He always had a very strong Christian faith and he was so gracious and humble with people. We have had so many cards saying the same - he always had a great sense of humour, he was always fun and he had so many stories to tell from his life. He was really interesting sitting listening to him.”