COKER, James Thomas
Private (later Lance Corporal)
Queen's Own Royal West Kent Regiment
Honours & Awards:
Thursday, August 12, 1915
Private James Coker, 6 Troop, was awarded the Military Medal in recognition of gallant and distinguished service in Burma. He was a Metropolitan Police Constable who had volunteered for the Commandos as part of the Police Intakes. In 1939 he was serving at Highgate Police Station, Archway Road, London.
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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