Where Once They Stood

Master Corporal Andrew Cox may be a proud member of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment, but the title he treasures most is simply dad


MCpl. Andrew Cox of the First Battalion Royal Newfoundland Regiment, A-Coy, 2nd Platoon, three section Commander, might be a very important title in some circles, but three and-a-half year old Alice simply calls him dad.

Serving abroad

While Cox, who hails from Avondale, has travelled a significant amount since his daughter’s birth, including a birthday he missed while serving in Latvia for Operation Reassurance, keeping things simple while home and staying in touch while away is critically important to him.

‘‘Alice and I like to go on tractor rides, don’t we?” he begins.

Alice smiles shyly. It’s actually “Grampy’s” tractor, she corrects, whispering to her father. He laughs. “Yes. Grandpa has a little tractor that he uses to clear the snow around the house, and we like to help out and go for little drives up and down the driveway. We use it to take out the garbage, too,” he shares.

Staying in contact

But truth is, daddy isn’t always home, but whether it’s serving overseas on a NATO mission, or time spent on assignment in other parts of Canada, staying in contact is priority one.

“When I was deployed last year, Alice turned three while I was away. What’s that like? It’s stressful. I knew that she’d be happy and healthy, but it was a little bit hard dealing with things in terms of making sure we made it work. It’s just one of those things where you’re going to have to do what’s best for the little one. That’s all.”

Postcards for Alice

While they tried phone calls, Cox admits “it was hard.” Age for one thing made conversations challenging, so he improvised.  “I wanted to give her a little keepsake from places I’ve been. I started sending her postcards. It was something she could see and hold. Something that could be read to her, and that she could keep. It turned into something of a tradition,” he shares sweetly.

Something else that’s a tradition? Serving our country.

“There’s always been a tradition of service before self in my family. My dad was in the military, and I wanted to join when I was old enough. For me, joining the Royal Newfoundland Regiment with its history and everything is kind of like a dream come true. It’s been a perfect fit.”

Anything he’s most proud of? He’s quick to respond; It was a parade he participated in here in this province on July 1st, 2016.

“The hundredth anniversary of the Battle of Beaumont Hamel, commemorating the Regiment’s tragic advance that morning in 1916. Some people might view it as just a parade or something like that. For me, it meant something much more. Maybe I’m not articulating it exactly right, but it was a where once they stood we stand moment for me.”

He pauses. “To actually be in uniform at that time, and not necessarily be in France, but be here with everyone else who, since that time, still choose to serve, that meant a lot, especially on the hundredth anniversary.”

‘Proud to serve’

Another proud moment was on his birthday last year, May 4th, while serving in Latvia. “May 4th is their Independence Day. It’s kind of like their Canada Day. They invited us to merge with them for their celebrations and to be invited there and to be told how grateful to Canadians they were for protecting them, that was beautiful.”

Where will he be on Remembrance Day? Proudly honouring those that served their country at the War Memorial in St. John’s.

“I’m proud to serve. And I want my daughter to feel that sense of pride. I know I’m following in some pretty big footsteps, but it’s an honour.”

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