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Monday, September 07, 2015

Leslie H Fox

One of the most intriguing authors published by Alliance Press and its spin-off Pan Press, was described on the front cover as  "The late Flight-Sergt." Leslie H. Fox.

The author was Leslie Henry Fox, born in Hackney in 1910, the son of Sidney Solomon Fox (1880-1960), a schoolmaster working for the London Country Council, and his wife Sarah (nee Siegenberg), a schoolmistress, who were married in London in 1904.

Leslie grew up in Stoke Newington along with his sister Stella Lilian Fox (1914-1963). He was still living with his parents at 19 Bethune Road, Tower Hamlets N16, moving to 52 Canfield Gardens, Hampstead, around 1932, and 5 Avenue Mansions, Finchley Road, in around 1935.

Fox was married to Anne Sheff (1909-2002) in 1936 and they moved to 30 Cedar Road, Cricklewood, where they were living in the late 1930s.

Fox volunteered for service on 29 November 1940, serving with the 44th Squadron of the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, rising to the rank of Flight Sergeant. He was stationed at RAF Waddington.

He was killed during a raid on Hamburg on the night of November 9-10, 1942. The RAF mustered 213 aircraft (74 Wellingtons, 72 Lancasters, 48 Halifaxes, 19 Stirlings), but the bombers encountered thick clouds, heavy rain and ice. As the raid progressed, many of the bombs fell in the Elbe or in open country; 26 fires were started in Hamburg, of which 3 were large, and 3 people were reported killed and 15 injured. The British casualties amounted to 15 aircraft (5 Lancasters, 4 Stirlings, 4 Wellingtons and 2 Halifaxes).

Fox, then aged 32, was aboard Avro Lancaster W4180 KM-D which reputedly dove into the ground near Buchholz, a few miles south-south west of Hamburg; he was buried at Ohlsdorfer Friedhof, Ohlsdorf, Hamburg-Nord. He was reported "presumed killed in action" in Casualty Communique No.292 in October 1943, having previously been reported "missing believed killed in action".

The above is based on information gathered from the War Graves Commission, online information from RAF Bomber Command Database and on probate records. There are, however, reports that disagree with the above facts, notably the Jewish Virtual Library, whose entry reads thus:
1253600 Flight Sergeant Leslie Henry Fox, son of Sydney and Sarah Fox, husband of Mrs A. Fox, of 144 Walm Lane, London NW2, volunteered 29 November 1940. Killed in action 27 November 1942, reported 12 February 1943, buried Hamburg. This information from WWRT 196 and AJEX card. But Chorley (see entry date for casualty) says he was in Lancaster III JB128 SR-U2, shot down over Berlin on 2-3 December 1943, take-off Ludford 1648, and was POW No. 269770 at Stalag 4B. 
I have yet to resolve this conflict of information, although it is very likely that there was more than one Flt. Sgt. L. H. Fox.

His widow, Annie, married Philip Shindler in 1943.


Perchance to Dream and The Elusive Plot: Stories. London, Alliance Press, Nov 1944.
It’s Haywire! Five fast and furious farces. London, Alliance Press, Jan 1945.
The Vampire, and sixteen other stories. London, Alliance Press, Apr 1945.
Design for Murder, and five other stories. London, Alliance Press, Jun 1945.
Twisted Tales. London, Alliance Press, Jan 1946.
The Heel of Achilles. London, Pan Press, Apr 1946.
Rex on the Trail. London, Alliance Press, advertised.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Hi Steve

This is fascinating - I have been researching Leslie Henry Fox for the past two years, since a box of his writings and drawings were found in a neighbour's attic. You are correct in thinking that there were two L H Fox - and that the information in the records is incorrect. Following up the service numbers showed that L H Fox, the author of these stories, was KIA on 9th November 1942 and buried near Hamburg. The stories were published posthumously by his father and the first one, Perchance to Dream, contains a biographical preface written by his father.