Belfast Telegraph

Home News Obituaries

Major Geoffrey Cocksedge: Ulster Military Cross winner guarded evil Nazi Rudolph Hess

Major Geoffrey Cocksedge, who has died at 93, was a hero of the Italian campaign of World War II.

He was awarded a Military Cross (MC) for his bravery leading a patrol from his 2nd Bn Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers in a highly dangerous operation.

His daring exploits are still remembered in Ballygrooby near Randalstown, where he was born, raised and where he received a special welcome on a visit after the war.

The young Lieutenant Cocksedge led a reconnaissance patrol across Sango River near Castel in the winter of 1943, even though it was almost unfordable and with its far bank mined and booby-trapped. They reached the other side safely; he and his men came under heavy fire but refused to retreat.

With great coolness and brilliant planning, Cocksedge got his men back across the river to safety with an injured soldier in their midst and carrying vital information. He was awarded an immediate MC.

Soon afterwards he led the same patrol in a bayonet charge on a village under German control, near Caoli, taking several prisoners. Weeks later, however, he was badly injured in another clash with the enemy but recovered and saw the rest of the war out with the 2nd Bn.

Cocksedge, by now promoted to major, was wounded in Korea.

He later served in Hong Kong, Cyprus and Berlin where one of his duties was guarding nazi Rudolph Hess in Spandau.

He is survived by his wife Joy (nee Chiles), two sons and two daughters.

Belfast Telegraph

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph