A decorated war veteran who became a social media sensation when he celebrated his centenary last year has turned 101 at his Sanctuary Care home in Birmingham.
Ralph puts his secret to reaching such a great age down to: “Living life to the full.”
When asked how he felt about the milestone the grandfather of 27 added: “I feel great and proud.”
Last year, after a story about him celebrating his birthday hit the headlines in the local papers, it was shared by thousands of people via Facebook.
It was liked by over 6,500 people on Age UK and Birmingham Updates’ Facebook pages, shared by over 850 people and attracted over 670 positive comments. Meanwhile a post by Sanctuary on LinkedIn received 272,741 impressions, 909 clicks and over 1,900 likes.
Born in Lozells, Birmingham, Ralph married neighbour and childhood sweetheart Anne. The couple had four children – Jill, Ron, Wendy and Ray. Months after Ron was born the Second World War broke out and the then fireman was called to serve his country.
Speaking about her father Wendy said: “His attitude has always been ‘it will be alright, don’t make a fuss’.
“I think his secret is he just accepts whatever comes along. He is such an amazing man he really is.”
Ralph – or Sergeant Cox – was stationed all over Europe with The Parachute Regiment.
In 1944 he was badly wounded in North West Europe when he was shot in the back, arm and leg. After he recovered he continued with his service and received six military medals in total, including one which reads 1939-1945 King’s commendation for brave conduct.
The couple enjoyed 45 years of happy marriage, before Anne sadly died of cancer in 1982. Jill said her father lovingly cared for Anne, as he did for his second wife Marion, whom he married in 1983 when he was 68 years old. Marion, who had three children Geoff, Terry and Margaret from her first marriage passed away in 2005 after a long battle with Alzheimer’s.