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Charles William Fox [[Distinguished Flying Cross (United Kingdom)|DFC]] and Bar (b. 16 February 1920, Guelphmarker, Ontariomarker; d.18 October 2008, Tillsonburg, Ontariomarker) was a Flight Lieutenant in the Royal Canadian Air Force in World War II. He attended Guelph Collegiate Vocational Institutemarker.


Fox, the son of an Irishmarker immigrant, joined the RCAF in 1939 at the beginning of the war (his brother Ted joined the Royal Canadian Artillery). He graduated near the top of his class in 1941 and was offered a job as a flight instructor in Dunnville, Ontariomarker. He remained in this position until 1943 when he began combat training in Bagotville, Quebecmarker. He flew Spitfires over Europe, destroying or damaging 153 enemy vehicles (mostly trains), and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (with bar).

In 1944, he began his tour of duty with the Canadian 412 Squadron. On D-Day he flew three patrols off the coast of Francemarker. On July 17, 1944, he flew from the Allied air base at Beny-sur-Mermarker in Normandy and strafed an unknown black car; he later learned that one of the passengers was German Field Marshal Erwin Rommel, who was seriously injured in the attack. The Americansmarker also claimed to have hit Rommel's car, but German reports specifically mentioned a Spitfire rather than an American P-47. As Rommel was soon afterwards implicated in the assassination plot against Adolf Hitler, he was allowed to commit suicide and his death was announced as a result of injuries from the air attack. In 2004 Fox was officially credited with injuring Rommel, although he has expressed some regret about the attack, as Rommel was supposedly planning to secretly negotiate an earlier end to the war with the Allies.

Fox ended his tour of duty in January 1945, and served in the 420 Reserve after the war. He retired in 1956 and began to work at a shoe factory, from which he retired in 1998. On April 30, 2004, he was named honorary colonel of 412 Squadron in Ottawamarker, ultimately belonging to 8 Wing/CFB Trenton.

He died in a car accident near Tillsonburg, Ontario, on 18 October 2008.


It is noteworthy that fourteen of Mr. Fox’s planes were rendered no longer usable after returning from missions due to excessive damage from enemy fire.

Charles Fox will be missed as an educator of youth and spokesperson for our veterans. He founded Torch Bearers, a non-profit organization that educates young people about Canadian military exploits. He regularly took on speaking engagements to keep veterans' stories alive and fought with school boards to ensure Remembrance Day ceremonies were held annually.

Mr. Fox's family has shared that he spent his life wondering why he survived numerous dates with death and was in the process of telling his story and those of other veterans in a book titled Why Not Me?, which the family hopes to finish. "It did give him a purpose in life and he was searching for that," his son said.

Mr. Fox is also survived by another daughter, Adrienne Black, who lives in New Jersey, nine grandchildren, three step-grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.


External links

  • Biography from Spitfire Emporium

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