Throughout that summer Fox and his squadron mates dive-bombed German rocket sites that began launching V-1 and V-2 rockets at English civilian centres. And as the Germans fell back in France, Allied Spitfires hastened the retreat by chasing German locomotives, tanks and truck convoys, all considered “targets of opportunity.”
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.
“I timed the shots so that I was able to fire and get him as the car came through a small opening in the trees … I got him on that pass,” Fox said. “We were moving pretty fast, but I knew I got him.”
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.
-Ted Barris is a journalism professor at Centennial College.
Canadian Second World War hero Charley Fox’s notoriety may have stemmed from wounding one of the biggest names in the Third Reich, but it was his work paying tribute to fallen comrades after the war that distinguished him as a true hero.
Fox, a Spitfire pilot, died Oct. 18 in a car accident in southern Ontario. He was 88.
By Georgie Binks, CBC News
I didn’t make it to Charley’s funeral and Chris and I never made it to the Legion to have lunch with him, after all these years. Through CHAA I did get to meet him and I’m thankful for that. Charley was one of the good guys, and he’ll always be missed.