Joseph Henry (Joe) FOX

FOX, Joseph Henry

Service Number: 420
Enlisted: 24 July 1915, Newcastle, New South Wales
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 30th Infantry Battalion
Born: Catherine Hill Bay, New South Wales, 26 February 1896
Home Town: Catherine Hill Bay, Lake Macquarie Shire, New South Wales
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Labourer
Died: Sydney, New South Wales, 1955, cause of death not yet discovered
Cemetery: Eastern Suburbs Memorial Park, NSW
Plaque in Columbarium wall
Memorials: Catherine Hill Bay Great War Honour Roll of Soldiers, Swansea Catherine Hill Bay Cornstalk Lodge No 226 G.U.O.F.G Roll of Honour
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World War 1 Service

24 Jul 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 420, Newcastle, New South Wales
9 Nov 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 420, 30th Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
9 Nov 1915: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, SN 420, 30th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Beltana, Sydney
19 Jul 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 420, 30th Infantry Battalion, Fromelles (Fleurbaix)
20 Jul 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 420, 30th Infantry Battalion, Fromelles (Fleurbaix)
22 Oct 1917: Discharged AIF WW1, Private, SN 420, 30th Infantry Battalion

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Biography contributed by Terry O'Brien

Joe Fox was born and grew up in Catherine Hill Bay in NSW. His father was Harry Fox who had migrated from Sutton-in-Ashfield. Joe's mother was Lydia-Jane Wilson of Dungog.  

Joe, who was working as a labourer, enlisted on 24/7/15 aged 19 with a large contingent from Newcastle area, and was appointed to the 30th Battalion B Company on 5 shillings a week pay.  After 3 months training they embarked on the HMAT Beltana heading for Suez in Egypt for further training. 

On 23/6/15 as part of the 5th Division, they sailed to Marseilles and then went by train to French Flanders. They were then sent to Fromelles where the newly arrived soldiers were ordered to attack stongly fortified German frontline positions, the first major attack fought by Australian troops on the Western Front. The 5th Australian Division suffered 5,533 casualties on that one day. Joe Fox was one of those wounded in that attack.

Joe was seriously wounded with gunshot wounds in the abdomen and hip. He was taken to the Boulogne Field Hospital where he was listed as dangerously ill then transferred to Edmonton Military Hospital in England.  There he stayed for almost a year, mostly bedridden and having five operations. Towards the end of his convalescence he was able to visit his half sister Lizzie and his father's family. He also met Queen Mary who visited the hospital. 

On 22 July 2017 he left England for Australia on the 'Nestor' arriving in Melbourne on 24th September.  He was medically discharged on 22 October 2017. He was only 21. He was awarded the Star 1914/15 medal, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.

Joe returned to Catherine Hill Bay where he became the post master and married local girl Emily Rhodes. They had four children, Kenneth, Valerie, Adele and Dallas (Bobbie). His war wounds always bothered him.

The family moved to Sydney in the Depression where he worked as a green grocer and bread carter. He later became a welder.  They lived in Bondi, Bexley and Surry Hills. He died in 1955 aged 59.