Robert Fox seated in his Hawker Typhoon aircraft, with his rigger and fitter (groundcrew) alongside. June 1944 - March 1945.Robert Fox
A portrait of Flying Officer Robert Fox. 1945.Robert Fox
Robert Fox's service medals. From left to right: 1939-1945 Star, France and Germany Star, Defence Medal, Canadian Volunteer Service Medal, War Medal (1939-45), Normandy Campaign Commemorative Medal.Robert Fox
A newspaper photograph of a pilot from No. 438 Squadron, Royal Canadian Air Force in Belgium.Robert Fox
Regina Leader-Post clippings about No. 438 Squadron, Royal Canadian Air Force during the Second World War. The stories reference Robert Fox's time with the squadron in Europe. 1944.Robert Fox
Memorial to Hawker Typhoon pilots shot down during the Normandy campaign of the Second World War. June 1990.Robert Fox
Final parade of the Wartime Pilots and Observers Association. 17 Wing Canadian Forces Base, Winnipeg, Manitoba, 6 June 2008.Robert Fox
"I went down and I did a dive bomb and then let my bombs go and then when I’m going up, I watched him go down, and his aircraft exploded, and we lost him right there."
One mission was, I think it was a three-day mission, at there – Portsmouth, on the south coast [England], before our boys are in the squadron. We were asked to fly low. All the ships around Portsmouth are waiting for D-Day [6 June 1944], and we were to fly low and give the gunners practice in firing. And, we did that for three days and it was wonderful, because we were doing a lot of low flying then.
The Typhoon was a very, very good aircraft, very fast aircraft, and it had four cannons. And we carried a thousand-pound bomb under each wing in most operations, and it was all mostly dive bombing. And, we were dive bombing the German troops, and things like that. They gave us times to go out after… and, I joined the [No. 438] Squadron about ten days after D-Day in France.
We had a special way to attack, which we would be flying about 8,000 feet. Never, never any higher. It was always about 8,000 feet, and, when we were ready to make our attack, we’d make a wing over, and down we’d go and do a dive bomb, and release the bombs, and, also fire – if there was enemy firing at us, we would fire our guns as well. And, when the bombs were released, we would pull up, and back we’d go to the [aero]drome.
The worst time I had is one day this one fellow said he’d never flown with me, he would like to fly with me, and I said, “Well, I need you to squadron today, and you can be my number two.” So we went to the target. I went down and I did a dive bomb and then let my bombs go and then when I’m going up, I watched him go down, and his aircraft exploded, and we lost him right there and I felt pretty bad about that because he was a pretty close friend. And, he was killed and I still don’t know what happened – the bombs went off and boom.
Four of us were coming back from a mission and there’s eight Me 109s,* came up, and we never saw them, and they came up behind us, and never saw them at all. And, finally just before the range of fire, one of the other fellows saw them, and they shot one of our guys down, and the three of us all ran away. And, it was our only experience with the Germans.
*Messerschmitt Bf 109 German fighter aircraft