Rifleman R/13442 Joseph Thomas Fox

Fox Joseph 96 397x600

Killed in Action on Wednesday, 10th May 1916, age 41.
Buried in Grave III. B. 14. at St. Patrick's Cemetery, Loos, Pas De Calais, France.

2nd Bn., King's Royal Rifle Corps. 2nd Brigade of 1st Division.

of 10 House, 1 Court, Underhill Buildings, Toll End Road, Tipton, Staffs.
Born: West Bromwich, Enlisted: Tipton, Resident: Tipton.

First landed France & Flanders, 8th October 1915.
Medal entitlement: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives survived and transcribed.

Commemorated on the Tipton Library Memorial.
Commemorated here because he appears on a Tipton memorial.

Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/563051/

Genealogical Data

Birth of Joseph Fox registered June quarter 1876 in West Bromwich.

1901 Census
1 Court 8 House, Toll End Road, Tipton, Staffs.
Joseph Fox (46, General Blacksmith, born Wolverhampton), his wife Ruth (45, Brick Maker, born West Bromwich), and their 6 children: Joseph (24, Roof Erector, born Tipton), Rebecca (22, Brick Maker, born Tipton), Mary (20, Brick Maker, born Tipton), Emma (18, Brick Maker, born Tipton), William (13, Galvaniser, born Tipton), and Edward (10, born Tipton).

Marriage of Joseph Fox and Ruth Holleran registered December quarter 1902 at Dudley.

1911 Census
1 Court 10 House, Underhill Buildings, Toll End Road, Tipton, Staffs.
Joseph Fox (33, Shearer, born Tipton), his wife Mary (33, born Wednesbury), and their 3 children: Mary (10, born Tipton), Ruth (8, born Tipton), and Ella (9 months, born Tipton).

Personal Data

Joseph Fox enlisted with the King's Royal Rifles in Tipton on 28th May 1915. His age was stated as 38 years and 34 days which would have given a date of birth of April 1877. No birth of Joseph Fox was recorded in this area in April 1877, but there was a birth recorded in West Bromwich in June quarter 1876. It is likely that Joseph was actually 39 years of age when he enlisted and 41 years of age when he was killed.

At enlistment, Joseph was 5 feet 7½ inches tall with a 35½-inch chest, weighed 135 pounds, and was employed as a labourer. His physical development was stated as 'good', although he was reported to have 'slight flat feet, not enough to reject'.

Joseph married Mary Holleran in December 1902, and they had 4 children: Mary born 23rd August 1900, Ruth born 14th March 1903, Ellen born 20th June 1910, and George born 27th September 1915. George was born just 12 days before Joseph embarked for France, it would be nice to think that Joseph had a few days pre-embarkation leave to see his son, as it is unlikely he ever had leave during the 7 months he was in France.

Joseph was assigned to the 14th Battalion, King's Royal Rifles for his training; they were a reserve battalion, at that time located at Belhus Park, Purfleet, Essex. On 7th October 1915, after just 4 months training, Joseph embarked from Southampton for France; he landed - probably in Le Havre, on the next day.

On 12th October Joseph was transferred to the 2nd Battalion, King's Royal Rifles - a Regular Army battalion who were amongst the first to land in France in August 1914 - 'Old Contemptibles'. By the time Joseph joined the 2nd Battalion, they had already had 650 men killed, around 100 on the 25th September 1915 - the opening day of the Battle of Loos. Joseph was one of the men who filled this void. Amongst the 100 men killed on 25th September were 2 Tipton men: John Thomas Devison and Frederick James Williams.

Joseph's widow, Mary, received his outstanding army pay and allowances of £3/0/2d (3 pounds and 2 pence) in July 1916. She also received his War Gratuity of £3/0/0d (3 pounds) in September 1919. By this time she was Mrs Williams and she had married Frederick Williams in June quarter 1917.

Action resulting in his death

In the first half of 1916 the 2nd Battalion King's Royal Rifle Corps (KRRC), who were part of the 2nd Brigade of the 1st Division, were in the line in the area of the previous year's Battle of Loos. No specific action took part on 10th May 1916, only one soldier in the 2nd KRRC died that day - Private Joseph Fox who is buried in St. Patrick's Cemetery, Loos.

Newspaper Cuttings

Birmingham Mail May 31st 1916
The following names appear in the lists:
Fox (13442) J., Tipton, K.R.R.C.