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Major-General Walter Adams Coxen

(22/6/1870 to 15/12/1949)

Walter Adams Coxen was born in Surrey in 1870 and was the son of a Henry William Coxen who came from Brisbane in Australia and his wife Margaret Morehead. Other members of his family included a brother by the name of Henry Charles Coxen born in 1869, and two sisters Ella Margaret Coxen, and Sarah Coxen.

Walter Adams Coxen was educated at the Grammar Schools of Toowoomba and Brisbane. He married Rebe Bear in Adelaide.

Walter Adams Coxen served in the First World War and is known to have reached the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel by 1917 when he received the Croix de Guerre (High Level French Medal of Bravery which can be awarded to foreigners of France) and was also created a Companion of the Distinguished Service Order (DSO Medal). Walter Adams Coxen was then later promoted to the rank of Major-General in 1927 and was made the Chief of General Staff, Australian Military Forces in 1930. He later lived in Melbourne and died in 1949.

Fellow 'Coxen' researcher, Tamsin Coxen revealed the background of this particular Coxen family, which can be connected to the biologist Charles Coxen and his sister Elizabeth. More information was supplied by Jo Morris, which can all be found under the "Ramsgate Coxen's" page.

Brothers: Captain Edward Coxen and Lieutenant Stephen Coxen

Lieutenant Stephen Coxen of the 23rd Light Dragoons was wounded while serving in the Battle of Waterloo 16th to 17th June 1815.

Captain Edward Coxen All the information that I have on Captain Edward Coxen has been supplied by Lionel Coxen and comes from Edward's memorial. So I have included the information as it was originally written:


Humbly Herewith,

That in the year 1825,your Memorialist became Captain in the Royal Brigade and the next year was appointed Paymaster in the 1st Battalion, Royal Rifles where he has continued service till the present time.

That your Memorialist had the honour of being appointed to a Second Lieutenancy in the 2nd Battalion of the Rifle Brigade on the 5th April,1809. In July following went out in the Expedition against Walcheren. Your Memorialists health was very much impaired for several years from the fever that prevailed then in that island.

Memorialist was promoted to a first Lieutenancy 28th June, 1810, and went out the same month with one company of the 2nd Battalion to the Peninsula, was constantly present with the Corps from the above period until the return of the Army in July 1814, never having missed a days duty during the whole of that time and acting subsequently as Adjutant and QuarterMaster. Your Memorialist begs leave to further state that he had the honour of being present and actively engaged in the following services:-

1. In the retreat of the Army after the Battle of Busaco to the Line of Torres Vedras, September 1810.

2. In the persuit of the French Army to Santarem, November, 1810.

3. In the persuit of the French Army from Santarem to Cuidad Rodrigo including the affairs of Pombal, Redinha, Mirando de Corros, Goz-d Aronce and Salivgal March 5th 1811.

4. In the Battle of Fuentas de Onoro 5th May 1811.

5. In the Siege and capture of Badajos by assault 6th April 1812, in which Memorialist commanded a Company, the Captain having been killed.

6. In the Siege and capture of Cuidad Rodrigos by assault on the 19th January, 1812.

7. In the affairs of outposts near Rueda and Canezal 18th July in which he commanded a Company.

8. In the Battle of Salamanca July 1812.

9. In the advance upon and occupation of Madrid and capture of Retira August 1812.

10. In the Battle of Vittoria and in the previous affairs of Zamarnos and San Milan June 1813.

11. By especial request of Major General Sir Charles Altin Commanding the Light Division and Lt General Sir John Ovardeluer, Memorialist was employed in the Pyrenees as an Acting Field Commissary in the Light Division and was present with it during all the affairs that took place in the Advance of the Army on Tolouse and until its final departure from France.

Memorialist further states that after the affair at Orthes and passage of the Advance near St Sever, he was with the Advance Guard then marching on Monte Marsen which he proceeded feeling a strong desire to possess himself of the vast magazines which he knew had been formed there for the supply of Bayone and the main Army under the command of Field Marshall Soult and which he entered unsupported (amidst the acclamations on the inhabitants) a very considerable time previous to the arrival of the Advance Guard. On leaving the Hotel d Ville where he had been transacting business with the French he met an Officer on the Duke of Wellingtons staff who had been sent forward and from whom he received directions to place sentries on the Stores when the Advance Guard arrived, which he did.

The importance of these magazines at that particular crisis is too well known to every British Officer to need further comment.

In the Battle of Waterloo 18th june 1815 when he was severely wounded in the knee, Memorialists brother, an older Officer, Lieutenant in the 23rd Dragoons fell towards the close of the action in which he sustained an inseparable loss added to which two older brothers shared the same fate during the late war when employed in the Naval Service of their country.

Your Memorialist can with confidence refer to Major General Gilmour and Major General Sir A. F. Barnard, officers commanding the Battalions during the sixteen years he has been in the Rifle Brigade for their opinion of his conduct and character.

Coxen's from American Wars

A Michael Coxen served with Jacob Gilbert's Company of the Ohio Militia during the 1812 War.

Private William Coxen was killed in action while serving with the 62nd Pennsylvania Regiment on the 5th May 1864 at Wilderness, during the American Civil War.

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