Honorary Colonel Charley Fox carrying the torch at 87

RackMaster

Nasty-Dirty-Canuck
SOF Support
Joined
Feb 8, 2007
Messages
10,365
Location
Land of Swine and Maple Syrup
Honorary Colonel Charley Fox carrying the torch at 87
by Holly Bridges
10-34-10a.jpg

10-34-10b.jpg

10-34-10c.jpg


It’s the younger generation who should be carrying the torch for veterans like 87-year-old Charley Fox, Distinguished Flying Cross recipient with bar.

Yet the honorary colonel for 412 Squadron (his old wartime Spitfire squadron) and decorated Second World War Spitfire pilot, is carrying the torch for a special group of Canadian and allied veterans who, he believes, have not received their “due recognition.”

HCol Fox has started a project called the Torchbearers to recognize all Canadian prisoners of war (POW), six Canadian airmen who were executed along with 44 others after the “Great Escape” from Stalag Luft III (Permanent Camp for Airmen #3) on March 24, 1944, and Polish combatants who served with Canadian air and ground forces throughout the Second World War. HCol Fox served and trained with two of the six Canadian airmen who were executed for trying to escape via tunnels the POWs had dug.

“I have a passion for seeing these three groups of veterans recognized,” said HCol Fox. “I am 87 years old, I hurt from the various injuries I sustained in the war. I live on a fixed income, yet I am absolutely passionate we must do something to give these fallen heroes the recognition they deserve.”

Among his goals: to have a medal struck for all Canadians who served as POW, living and deceased; to have 50 Canadian students travel to , Poland (formerly Sagan, Germany) in 2010 (the 65th anniversary of the liberation of Stalag Luft III) to march and wear the air force battle dress of all the countries of those executed; and to encourage the federal government to officially recognize the contributions of Polish combatants to the success of the CF in Italy, Normandy and through to the liberation of Holland.

“The Polish Air Force served within the Royal Air Force and one of the largest air forces in the European theatre,” said HCol Fox. “Over 14 000 air crew flew with 18 different squadrons. They fought in the Battle of Britain and many other campaigns—they were ferocious fighters.”

So far HCol Fox has discussed the Torchbearers project with senior CF leadership, several mayors of Canadian and Dutch cities he would like to twin, and other officials with an interest in commemorating the allied victory in Europe.

“I’ll be 90 years old in 2010 and I want to be there to see this thing unfold,” said HCol Fox. “These veterans have fallen through the cracks. Something must be done.”


HCol Fox's Unit is 412 (T) Squadron, he sounds like an amazing man.

412 (Transport) Squadron
412 (T) Squadron is based in Ottawa but belongs to 8 Wing Trenton. It provides high-ranking government officials and foreign dignitaries with VIP air transportation worldwide.

The Squadron currently operates six Bombardier CC-144 Challengers. To accomplish this task it employs 16 pilots, 7 flight stewards and 9 civilians. Last year, the Squadron flew a total of 2825 hours.

Transport Canada has been working with the squadron since the closure of CFB Ottawa in October of 1994 when it assumed responsibility for the maintenance of the four Challengers. The relationship has since evolved and matured. The result is a more economical, efficient and effective Administrative Flight Service.
 

RackMaster

Nasty-Dirty-Canuck
SOF Support
Joined
Feb 8, 2007
Messages
10,365
Location
Land of Swine and Maple Syrup
Here is another amazing story on HCol Fox. There are links to his Bio and more. ;)

Air Force veteran to honour fallen friends
November 9, 2006
News Photo
Veterans’ Week 2006

By Holly Bridges

This Remembrance Day, while many Canadian veterans will be at home watching ceremonies on TV, or attending services in their own communities, 86-year-old Charley Fox will be driving down Highway 401 heading for Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto.

The Guelph, Ontario native, and Second World War Distinguished Flying Cross with bar recipient, is going to visit his old friend and fellow veteran, Steve Randall, who lives in the veterans’ wing at Sunnybrook Hospital.

The Guelph, Ontario native, and Second World War Distinguished Flying Cross with bar recipient, is going to visit his old friend and fellow veteran, Steve Randall, who lives in the veterans’ wing at Sunnybrook Hospital.

vw_Fox2_240.jpg

412 (T) Sqn Honorary Colonel Charley Fox chats with Her Excellency the Right Honourable
Michaëlle Jean, Governor General, in front of a wartime Spitfire at the Canada Aviation Museum in Ottawa during a recent ceremony to consecrate his wartime squadron’s new colours.

Credit: Corporal Issa Paré

His visit will be rather unusual, though. Instead of sitting and chatting with his friend, “Flight Lieutenant” Fox will be doing ground control, radio in hand, for a flypast over Sunnybrook by the Canadian Harvard Aircraft Association (CHAA). The association performs a flypast every year on Remembrance Day, usually over Toronto City Hall and then over Sunnybrook Hospital.

“I didn’t talk about my experiences in the war for over 40 years,” says F/L Fox, also the Honorary Colonel for 412 Transport Squadron in Ottawa, his old wartime squadron. “A lot of us felt so guilty when we came home from the war because we survived and so many of our friends didn’t. We didn’t want to talk about it. But then when I got involved doing ground control for these flypasts and doing colour commentaries at air shows across the country, I wanted to honour the “fellas” I flew with. I started to tell their stories.”

HCol Fox says he flew with half of the 42 412 Sqn pilots who were killed during the Second World War and it’s their sacrifices and heroism he is determined to share every chance he gets, whether it’s on Remembrance Day or throughout the year.

vw_Fox1_240.jpg

HCol Fox is perhaps best known for strafing Field Marshal Erwin Rommel’s staff car from his Spitfire at 300 feet, fatally wounding the driver and severely injuring Rommel who was in charge of all German forces in Normandy.

Credit: Lance Russwurm, spitcrazy.com

“I have a passion for passing on the story of what our men and womendid overseas and the sacrifices they made, particularly to our young people,” says HCol Fox. “I want them to hear and to study and to learn about our great, strong military history and about Canada standing up to be counted. My father served in the Boer war, my wife’s father died from First World War injuries three weeks after my wife was born, I served in the Second World War and a lot of Canadians just don’t know about our military history.”

Aside from travelling the country, speaking to schools, helping with air shows and Remembrance Day, HCol Fox is also working on a more lasting tribute to his wartime friends and their service to Canada. He has teamed up with CBC broadcaster and author Ted Barris to write a book called, “Why not me?”

The book is based on HCol Fox’s wartime logbook, diary and interviews he did with Mr. Barris this past fall. The name of the book was inspired by an incident in December 1945 after HCol Fox returned home to Canada. While working in a store in Guelph, HCol Fox had a woman approach him grab his shoulders crying while she shook him. She knew he had served in the war with her late son, Andy Howden, she continued crying and pounding on his chest, saying “Why my Andy and not you? Why myAndy and not you?”

The guilt he felt was tremendous and served to push his memories even further down, where they stayed for more than 40 years. He began to talk about the war about 20 years ago when he became involved with the CHAA and hasn’t stopped since.

“Why not me?” is still in production and there is no word yet as to when it will be published or distributed.

HCol Fox is perhaps best known for strafing Field Marshal Erwin Rommel’s staff car from his Spitfire at 300 feet, fatally wounding the driver and severely injuring Rommel who was in charge of all German forces in Normandy. Although Rommel recovered, the injuries he sustained affected his ability to operate effectively and he did not return to active duty.

HCol Fox has been the Honorary Colonel of 412 Squadron since May of 2004.
 
Top