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The Airmen's Stories - F/Lt. P A N Cox


Philip Anthony Neville Cox, of Brighton, Sussex was born in Patcham near Brighton on 21st July 1915, the son of Dr. Arthur Neville Cox M.D. (1887-April 1940) and Winifred Alice Neville Cox (nee Goddard) (1885-1958), of Brighton, Sussex.

PAN Cox went to Brighton Hove and Sussex Grammar School. He joined the RAF as an Aircraft Apprentice at No. 1 School of Technical Training, Halton in September 1932. He passed out in August 1935 as a Fitter.

He won a place at RAF College Cranwell and started there in September 1935 as a Flight Cadet. He was awarded the RM Groves Memorial Prize in 1937.

After graduating in late July 1937, Cox was posted to 43 Squadron at Tangmere. On 17th January 1939 he went to 11 Group Pool, St Athan as an instructor and was made OC 'C Flight on 28th August.

He was later attached to the AFDU, Northolt for instruction on air tactics.



In May 1940 Cox was at 6 OTU, leaving there for Hendon on 6th June for onward posting to France where he joined 501 Squadron as a Flight Commander. The squadron was withdrawn on the 18th from Dinard and operated on the 19th from Jersey, covering the BEF evacuation from Cherbourg. It re-assembled at Croydon on the 21st.

Cox claimed a Me109 destroyed and shared in the destruction of another on 20th July.

In combat over Dover Harbour on the 27th Cox was shot down in Hurricane P3808 by Fw. Fernsebner of III/JG52 and reported 'Missing'. At the time Cox was thought to have been a victim of the Dover anti-aircraft guns.

He was 25. His name is on the Runnymede Memorial, panel 5.

His younger brother was killed in action in 1944 (see below).





Above image courtesy of Dean Sumner

November 2021 - Cpl. John Jones (RAF Medical Services 1967-1990) writes:

The Germans went to great lengths to verify claims. There were separate forms for the claimant and witnesses, all of whom had to state what damage was done and how the victim crashed. Extant Lufwaffe reports are rare, but copies of those filed by Lt. Marx of Erprobbungsgruppe 210 for 27th July have been published. They were painstaking, and the evaluation procedure was strict. It appears almost certain from a comparison of this particular claim with RAF combat reports that Marx downed F/O PAN Cox of 501 Squadron off Dover at 18:50. His Hurricane was also claimed by Fw. Fernsebner of III/JG52 a short while earlier. “Pan” Cox died twice for the Luftwaffe, thereby posthumously doing his bit for his cause by a little to the illusions of its commanders.

(The Most Dangerous Enemy: A History of the Battle of Britain - Stephen Bungay).

Lt Horst Marx 3/Erprobbungsgruppe 210 - Hurricane over the sea near Dover.



June 2022 - Lt. Robert Arthur Neville Cox was a member of the Royal Naval Reserve. He was awarded the King's Gold Medal when training aboard HMS Worcester in 1935.

He was awarded the DSC (gazetted 27th January 1942) for bravery under fire when his mine sweeper HMS Skudd was under aerial attack.

On 27th August 1944 he was aboard the minesweeper HMS Hussar, part of a flotilla sweeping the channel off Le Havre. The ships were attacked in error by rocket-firing Typhoons.

Hussar, HMS Britomart and HMS Salamander were sunk or badly damaged. 86 men were killed and 124 injured, many seriously.

Cox, aged 27, is commemorated on the Plymouth Naval Memorial, panel 92.


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