War Memoirs and Letters of Harry Fox (CO 1911-16)

HARRY Fox was at Marlborough from 1911 to 1916, in Cotton House. Upon leaving school, in common with almost all of his contemporaries, he was called up and, upon completion of Officer and Artillery training, Second Lieutenant Harry Fox, aged 19, was sent to fight in France in July 1917.

Letters were extremely important for the morale of the officers and men who fought in the First World War – both the sending and receiving. We are very lucky to have access here to the complete collection of letters that Harry sent to his family, from training in England in 1917, through his combat experiences on the Western Front, and on after the Armistice until his return home in February 1919. More than anything the letters reveal the essential characteristics and values of Harry Fox – he is mature, conscientious, well balanced, resilient and brave. He is also witty, thoughtful, sporty and loyal by nature. You could say that he is a model example of the Edwardian public schoolboy.

The Memoirs, written in 1920, give a factual account of his experiences. Unlike in the letters, which had to pass the censor, here he is free to give details of places, battles, retreats and advances. Narrative accounts by artillerymen of the Great War are relatively uncommon and, together with the letters, the Memoirs provide an excellent chronicle of what it was like to be a gunner in the First World War.

The writings of Harry Fox will be of interest to students of history, members of the CCF, OMs, and anyone who has an interest in the First World War and history in general.

Click here to read the letters.

Gráinne Lenehan
Archive Assistant