Charley Fox: Painted by Jozef
Colonel Charley Fox, DFC and Bar
February 16 1920 - October 18 2008
The Man: When war broke out in 1939, a young Charley Fox left his job and enlisted in the RCAF. He'd set his sights on flying the fastest fighter aircraft of the day -- the Spitfire. However, because he graduated second in his class, the Air Force told Fox he would train military pilots in the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan. From 1941 to 1943, Instructor Fox trained hundreds of pilots.
As a result of his two years of instructing in Canada, Fox accumulated 1,500 flying hours, but he still flew tail-end-Charley (last man in a group of four Spitfires) when he joined fighter command at Tangmere aerodrome in England in 1944
He scrambled numerous times from that storied Battle of Britain aerodrome in the lead-up to D-Day. As the June 6, 1944 invasion began , Fox and his RCAF 412 Squadron flew three operational trips over Normandy, protecting thousands of ships and landing craft.
Fox's greatest "opportunity" appeared on the afternoon of July 17, 1944. He and his wing-mate Steve Randall spotted a German staff car racing along an avenue of trees. While Randall protected his quick descent, Fox swooped in out of the sun, strafed the vehicle and drove it off the road. By the time Randall and Fox had landed back at their base, the radio buzzed with exciting news. An Allied pilot had shot up a Horch convertible containing a driver, three German officers and..... the Desert Fox himself, Field Marshal Erwin Rommel!
He specialized in ground attack and prided himself on accurate marksmanship. His success is neatly summed up in the official commendation for a bar to his DFC: "This officer has led his section against a variety of targets, often in the face of intense anti-aircraft fire.
It is noteworthy that fourteen of Charley's planes were rendered no longer usable after returning from missions due to excessive damage from enemy fire.
The Legacy: Charley's post-war accomplishments are equally notable. He was a major component of the Canadian Harvard Aircraft Association, founder of Torch Bearers, a non-profit organization aimed at educating young people about Canadian military exploits, and a champion for the promotion of appreciation for the outstanding participation of all Polish Combatants of World War II.
To view this picture and to read the biography of artist Jozef Milczarski, please click here.
To visit Charley Fox's website, please click here.
Also, this memorial site: Please click here.
Sources: Wikipedia, National Defence & Canadian Forces, Charley Fox - Official Website
Blog Entry by Mo Bayliss, Assistant Editor.
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