Leslie Owen Fox GC
Name: Leslie Owen Fox
Conflict: Second World War
Gazetted: February 20, 1945
Place/date of birth: Fulham, London/December 4, 1904
Rank when awarded GC (and later highest rank): Civilian
Date of bravery: February 20, 1944
London Gazette citation:
Leslie Owen Fox, Deputy Party Leader, London County Council Heavy Rescue Service
High explosive and incendiary bombs demolished houses and set fire to the wreckage. The walls were liable to collapse at any moment and the entire framework was well alight.
Cries were heard from under the debris and Fox, without thought for himself, immediately began to tunnel his way through the blazing ruins. Debris passed back by Fox was often too hot to handle and his men continually sprayed him with water in an endeavour to keep down the almost intolerable heat from the flames. At great danger to himself Fox shored the entrance to the tunnel, adjoining which was a very dangerous party wall. After about two hours of very strenuous work and under the most difficult and dangerous conditions Fox located the casualty. Although in a distressed condition he would not allow a relief to take his place and continued rescue operations. Shortly afterwards the dangerous wall collapsed, blocking the entrance and causing the tunnel to subside. Fox, however recommenced tunnelling, straining every muscle to expedite the work. After a further two hours’ work he had tunnelled 15 feet and was able to clear debris away from the head of the casualty and cover him with some sort of protection. A Medical Officer was then enabled to enter and administer restoratives to the injured man, who was eventually brought to safety. Fox performed his duty in a most gallant and determined manner and, by his courage and tenacity, saved a man from what appeared to be almost certain death.
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Other decorations: N/A
Place/date of death: Fareham, Hampshire/December 26, 1982
Grave/memorials: Garden of Remembrance, Portchester Crematorium, Hampshire
Origin of VC to the Lord Ashcroft collection: Purchased privately, 2011
Current location of VC: Displayed on rotation at The Lord Ashcroft Gallery: Extraordinary Heroes exhibition, Imperial War Museum