COKER, James Thomas

Private (later Lance Corporal)
Unit / Base: 
1 Commando
Prior Police Service: 
Metropolitan Police
Queen's Own Royal West Kent Regiment
Honours & Awards: 
Thursday, August 12, 1915
In 1939 James Coker was a Metropolitan Police Constable serving at Highgate Police Station, Archway Road, London. He later volunteered for the Commandos and after his training at the Commando Depot (Commando Basic Training Centre), Achnacarry, was attached to 6 Troop of No.1 Commando in 1943. Awarded the Military Medal for gallant and distinguished service in Burma.
Award Recommendation
Arakan 1945
On the 31st Jan. 45, at Hill 170 near Kangaw, Pte Coker was No.2 on an L.M.G. ordered to go forward to a weapon pit where the two previous men had been killed. His No.1 on the gun was killed immediately after his arrival as the pit was under continual enemy fire. He took over the gun and continued firing.
Two other men were sent to join him but were killed instantaneously. His Section Sgt then joined him in the trench manning the bren belonging to the two men just killed. The Section Sgt was then killed and Pte. Coker's Bren put out of action.
He immediately took over his Sgt's Bren and continued firing. He was then joined by another man with a haversack of grenades and between them they enabled a bren gunner who had been cut off, to rejoin them.
Throughout the day Pte. Coker showed great coolness and courage in face of great difficulties and was throughout regardless of his own safety.
The death of "L/Cpl. James T. Coker, MM. (1 Cdo) of Stevenage, Herts." was announced in Commando Association newsletter 95 issued September 1992.
London Gazette 37040, page 2080.
National Archives file WO373/36/83.
The 1939 Register covering Hornsey.
CVA Gallery/No. I Commando documents/Troop Notes 1Cdo.
The LG and NA files above refer to his rank as Private. Final rank attained shown in CA newsletter.

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