The Royal New South Wales Lancers

Wallace Cox A Lancer's Story

Captain Wallace Cox 1883 - 1915
Major General Charles Cox DSO CB's young brother

Wallace Cox was born in Carlingford on 7 May 1883. His brother Charles Cox (Major General DSO CB) was some 20 years older than Wallace.

Wallace was educated at the King's School, Parramatta.

In 1902 at 19 he joined the New South Wales Lancers at parramatta as a trooper. Advanced through the ranks, attending NCO school and Light Horse Officers' school; in January 1914, he was a lieutenant qualified in all aspects for captain except field engineering.

Wallace was not married.

He joined the 1st Light Horse Regiment AIF on 27 August 1914, a foundation member of the unit. He was promoted Captain on 18 October 1914 and posted 2IC B Squadron. Training and field firing took place at Roseberry and Long Bay Rifle Range until 25 September 1914

The Regiment embarked for Egypt on 20 October 1914 on HMAT Star of Victoria.

Wallace was one of the 25 Officers and 477 other ranks who landed at 06:00 on 12 May, 2,000 metres south of Fisherman's Hut on the Gallipoli peninsula. At 12:00 on 13 May, the 1LH took over front line trenches at Pope's Hill.

At 03:50 hrs on 19 May, the Turks attacked to the cries of 'Jacko' and 'Allah' about 100 Turks reached the Regiment's trenches, those not killed outright were not seen to regain their trenches. 11 members of the Regiment were killed, 18 wounded. The Turks again attacked on 29 May. The regiment took its turn in the front line and reserve trenches until August.

As part of the diversion to allow a fresh British Corps to land at Suvla Bay, and the New Zealand Division to take vital ground at Chunuk Bair, the 1 LH was ordered to attack the enemy's 'Chessboard' trenches on the morning of 7 August. Major Reid OC led B Squadron's attack. Captain Cox as 2IC was at the rear organising the movement forward of the supply of bombs essential to the enterprise.

At 03:30 hrs but one hour before the 8 LH rose from their trenches at the Nek 300 metres to the north west. B squadron assembled. Four troops of twelve bomb throwers and twelve riflemen with fixed bayonets in support. The latter had orders not to fire a shot without orders, but to use the bayonet only. There was a fear in the hierarchy that if a soldier was to pause and take an aimed shot, the momentum of an advance would be lost. They marched silently down communication trenches from Pope's Post to the gully separating Australian and Turkish positions, to wait ten minutes while the engineers opened barbed wire entanglements for the troops to pass through. Then up the ridge, to be met by a shower of Turkish bombs. The light horsemen charged and two lines of trenches were taken bombing the Turks out.

Meanwhile A Squadron, seeing that B had been forced to show its hand, attacked but were either killed or driven back they did not penetrate the position. In the first ten minutes A Squadron was practically put out of action %#45; over 50% were killed or wounded in the first rush.

Back in B Squadron Captain Cox and his echelon parties surged forward to resupply the bombers. The bombs were trench made, an empty ration tin with an explosive charge in the centre surrounded by nails. The bombers each carried a lighted cigarette to start the fuse before the explosive was thrown. Grenades were not available. Troops had worked intensively over the days preceding the attack to amass a cache of over 1,000 bombs. Wallace Cox had shrugged off the shrapnel wound from a Turkish bomb, but when he exposed himself moving between the trench lines to get the much-needed ammunition forward he was hit by a Turkish bullet, dropping to the floor of a trench.

Wallace Cox was still alive when stretcher bearers dodging bullets, protected only by their red cross markings, markings the Turks respected, retrieved his body and carried it to the beach.

When at 08:00 hrs after the regiment had consolidated its position and used up all the bombs it was ordered to retire as the position was untenable.

He was evacuated to hospital at Mudros on the Greek island of Lemnos where he died of his wounds on 8 August. He was then buried at Sea by Chaplain ET Clark from the Caledonia in the Mediterranean between Mudros and Alexandria.

He was awarded the 1914/15 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal.

Wallace did not get to see his brother make Major General and be appointed honorary colonel of the regiment they both served in.

Lest we Forget.

John Howells 2022


PV Vernon (Editor) The Royal New South Wales Lancers 1885-1985.
National Archives of Australia – Captain Wallace Cox – AIF Service Record.
GHL Harris, 'True to Name: Bloody Angle', Reveille, 1.8.1932, p 22.

NSWL Memorial Museum and John Howells

New South Wales Lancers Memorial Museum Incorporated ABN 94 630 140 881; Linden House, Lancer Barracks, 2 Smith Street, PARRAMATTA, AUSTRALIA
Postal Address: PO Box 7287, PENRITH SOUTH NSW 2750, AUSTRALIA; Telephone: +61 (0)405 482 814 Email:
Click to contact
website designed and maintained by cibaweb Site Disclaimer

go to top of page

Find and compare hotels near The Royal New South Wales Lancers Memorial Museum through HotelsCombined for the cheapest rates.

Image loading please wait
Donate to the Museum
Image loading please wait Like us on Facebook RUSI of NSW The NSW Lancers Museum acknowledges Vergola for their generous assistance