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Tribute paid to Newbury war veteran Norman Fox

Death of Royal British Legion standard bearer and Legion d'Honneur Chevalier, aged 95

Jonathan Ashby

Jonathan Ashby


01635 886637

Tribute paid to Newbury war veteran Norman Fox

A SECOND World War veteran who worked in Newbury for more than 40 years has died aged 95.

Norman Fox joined the Royal Marines in February 1942 and took part in the Allied invasion of southern France in Operation Dragoon on August 15, 1944.

In November 2017 he was awarded the rank of Chevalier in the Ordre National de la Legion d’Honneur, the highest French order of merit for military service.

He died on December 31, 2019, and is survived by his two sons, Colin and Brian, two granddaughters and six great-grandchildren. 

Mr Fox was born in Barns Green, West Sussex, on August 30, 1924.

He joined the Marines aged 17 before being sent to Eastney Barracks in Portsmouth for nine months of ‘hostility service training’.

He left the UK in October 1942 on the SS Phemius II, stopping in Brazil to refuel then travelling to Mombasa, Kenya, where he spent his first Christmas in the Marines.

He then journeyed up through the Suez Canal, disembarking in 1943 at the Great Bitter Lake in Egypt.

In October that year Mr Fox joined HMS Aurora, a cruiser that had been bombed in the Mediterranean by German aircraft, killing 47 crew members on board.

He joined the cruiser in Alexandria, Egypt, where it underwent temporary repair, before he travelled on the boat to Taranto, Italy, where it spent six months being rebuilt.

The cruiser then returned to Alexandria and advanced to Provence, France, to aid in Operation Dragoon, bombarding the beaches, before landing without much resistance from the Germans.

In October 1944, Mr Fox went to Greek island Levitha, helping to capture 100 Germans, who were taken as prisoners back to Alexandria.

After spending Christmas 1944 in Salonica, Greece, and a brief stint in Malta for training, he was put on a troopship back to the UK.

He spent time at Browndown Royal Marines small arms school in Gosport, where he met his late wife Desiree at a dance at the RAF aerodrome in July 1946.

Mr Fox was demobilised later that year and moved to Reading in 1947.

He worked on the buses in Reading and Newbury for almost 30 years, and then spent 13-and-a-half years as a security officer at the Royal Engineers base, Denison Barracks, Hermitage.

He retired at the age of 65, but remained an active member in the Newbury Royal British Legion.

Dave Glover from Newbury Royal British Legion said: “Everybody will say the same – he was a lovely man.

“He was very meticulous and a brilliant standard bearer. He put so much into the British Legion.”

Mr Fox’s son Brian added: “He was dedicated to the legion and always out doing the poppies no matter the weather, and often riding his bike around town delivering the Navy News.

“If he felt something needed doing, he’d do it right.”

Mr Fox’s funeral will take place at 11am on Wednesday, January 22, at West Berkshire Crematorium, Thatcham.

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