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A Look at the Channel on D-Day

Heroes Remember - D-Day

A Look at the Channel on D-Day

I actually flew on June the 5th and that was in the morning. When I got back this is what the squadron would do over in France looking for targets of opportunity. When we came back – all the other craft – they were painting the black and white stripes on. They immediately got on to our aircraft. And we knew something was really happening. And they had a big open air briefing with Air Vice Marshall Cunningham, RAF. He was the head of the 2nd Tactical Air Force or 83 Group or whatever it was. And basically we had that briefing. We had a wing briefing and then a squadron briefing and I think I got to bed about one o’clock in the morning and I wanted to be on the first one. And they had picked and so I got on as a spare in case somebody ... twelve aircraft ... you wanted to have twelve there. We always had a spare take off and follow in case somebody had to turn back because of engine problem, radio, whatever. And so I think we were called at 3:30 - 4 o’clock in the morning and had a breakfast. We took off in the dark and we were over Normandy going over and seeing all the ships below and had this patrol above the British sector and Juno Beach with the Canadians ... ah ... Sword that was and Juno ... and that’s where they patrolled. Now I stayed; I should have gone back but I stayed and I think I was in the air a little over an hour and something. When you were on patrol ... the time it took was about an hour and fifty-five. But I actually patrolled and then came back by myself and the channel was solid with ships. There were over 7000 ships. The big destroyers and the bombardment going on, the landing craft and the supplies all coming through. You could almost walk across on it and so that was really something. And then I flew two more trips that day. The last one – I was in the final one – we landed in the dark at about eleven o’clock at night.

Mr. Fox describes the view of the English Channel on D-Day from a pilot’s perspective.

Charley Fox

Mr. Fox was born in Guelph, Ontario in 1920. He signed up in March, 1940, and was called up the following October. Mr. Fox excelled during pilot training, but a bout of scarlet fever prevented him from accompanying his squadron overseas. Once returned to health, he became a flight instructor, during which time he married. A short time later, he was sent overseas and joined the 412 Spitfire Squadron. He was involved in air support for D-Day and flew many follow-up missions destroying “targets of opportunity” in France and Holland. After the war, Mr. Fox returned home and became a retailer. He now resides in London, Ontario.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Charley Fox
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Western Europe
Air Force
412 Spitfire Squadron
Aircraftman 2nd Class / Flight Lieutenant

Copyright / Permission to Reproduce

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