George Fox came to Chelmsford as a child, having been born in Yorkshire. He worked as a hatter’s apprentice, enlisted in the army to serve in South Africa during the Boer War before emigrating to Canada in 1906. After failing to get into the Canadian army he came back to England and in June 1915 enlisted into the British army. Plagued by ill-health he left the army in December 1918 and died shortly afterwards. His home was in New London Road.
Private, Dorset Regiment (formerly of the North Somerset Yeomanry)
He transferred to the Labour Corps on 30th June 1917, served as a lance corporal until reverting to a private on 14th September 1917.
He later served as Private TT03938 in Royal Army Veterinary Corps. On 5th December 1918 he was discharged from the Royal Army Veterinary Corps. Nine days later he arrived his father’s home at 108 London Road, Chelmsford (today number 129). He died there the following day aged 44.
On 20th December 1918 the Essex County Chronicle carried a death notice for George Fox:
“Fox - On Dec. 15 (10 days after his discharge from the Army) at 108 London Road, Chelmsford, from consumption and heart trouble, George, younger son of Mr. and Mrs. George Fox, aged 44.”
The paper also carried a detailed report on his life and death.
“Death of Mr. George Fox, Jun. We regret to state that Mr. George Fox, jun., son of Mr. George Fox, of London Road, died on Sunday night. The deceased, who would have been 45 years of age next month, was one of those patriotic Britishers who ‘lost his birth certificate’ to join the Army.
At the outbreak of the war he was in Canada whither he went nearly twelve years ago - and unsuccessfully tried to join the Canadian Force, He, however, came to England with remounts and joined the North Somerset Yeomanry. On getting to the Front he was transferred to the Dorset Regt. He later came to England, suffering from bronchitis, and soon after his return to France was invalided home again with heart and tuberculosis trouble.
He was discharged from the Army on Dec. 5, and on Dec. 9 he visited his father’s home. Next day he collapsed, and passed away from pleurisy, The deceased used to assist his father in the butcher’s business in High Street, now carried on by Mr, Frank Fox, and had charge of the Duke Street establishment. He was a genial good natured fellow and highly esteemed by many.
He was educated at King Edward VI School, and enlisted for the South African War, but was seized by with an internal disorder shortly before sailing for South Africa. The funeral took place at the London Road Cemetery yesterday, the Rev. E. J. Padfield officiating. The mourners were: Mr. G. Fox, father; Mr. and Mrs. Frank Fox, brother and sister-in-law; Miss. K. M. Fox, sister; Mr. and Mrs. T. Bernholdt, Mr. and Mrs. F. Miller, Q.M.S. L. C. Ashton and Mr. and Mrs. C. Penny, brothers-in-law and sisters; and Lieut. Miller, nephew. Others present included Messers. W. J. Crepp, Mr. J. Holland, and A. Southgate.”
A similar report appeared in the same day’s Essex Weekly News:
“THE LATE MR. G. FOX, JUN. - Yesterday the funeral of Mr. George Fox, jun., son of Mr. George Fox, of London-rd, took place at the Borough Cemetery. The deceased, who died from tuberculosis on Sunday, was within a month of his 45th birthday. He went to Canada about twelve years ago and when war broke out tried to join the Canadian Force, but was refused as he was over age. He came to England with remounts and succeeded in joining the North Somerset Yeomanry, but upon going to France was transferred to the Dorset Regt.
Later he was sent back to England suffering from acute bronchitis, and after his return to France was invalided home again suffering with heart and tubercular trouble. He was discharged from the Army on Dec. 5, and on the 9th he arrived at his father’s house, where he passed away the following day. Mr. Fox, who was an old Chelmsford Grammar School boy, used to assist in his father’s hosiery business in High-st., and being of a genial, good-natured disposition he had many friends.
He enlisted for the South African War, but was seized with an internal disorder shortly before he was due to sail for South Africa, - The funeral service was conducted by Rev. E. J. Padfield Wesleyan minister. The chief mourners were: Mr. G. Fox, father; Mr. and Mrs. F. Fox, brother and sister-in-law; Mr. and Mrs. T. Reynolds, Mr. and Mrs. F Miller, Q.M.S. and Mrs. E. C. Ashton; Mr. and Mrs. C. Penney, brothers-in-law and sisters; Miss K. M. Fox, sister; and Lieut. Miller, nephew. Those also present included Messrs. T. H. Holland, W. J. Creasy, and A. Southgate (Galleywood).
George was born in 1874 in Tadcaster, Yorkshire, the younger son of the hatter and hosier George Fox and Ellen Fox. His father had been born in 1843 in Boston Spa, Yorkshire, the son of shoe makers; his mother c1844 in Banbury, Oxfordshire. In 1871 the couple had been resident at West Tadcaster in Yorkshire.
George’s siblings included Annie Richmond Fox (born in 1869 in York, Yorkshire, died 1954), Frank Fox (born on 17th October 1870 in Tadcaster, died 1961), Nellie Fox (born 1872 in Tadcaster), Flora Fox (born in 1876 in Birmingham, Warwickshire, died 1942), Minnie Ritchings Fox (born in 1877 in Birmingham, 1958), and Kate Marion Fox (born in 1878 in Chelmsford, died 1943).
George’s father settled in Chelmsford in 1877 taking over an existing business. Four years later seven year-old George was living with his parents, six siblings and a servant at 2 Selkirk Villas, New London Road, Chelmsford. His father was a hatter and hosier.
Like the sons of many of the town’s businessmen George was educated at King Edward VI’s
Grammar School in Chelmsford as was his brother Frank.
At the time of the 1891 census, 16 year-old George was resident with his parents, six siblings and two servants at 7 Cottage Place, Chelmsford. George was a hatter’s apprentice, brother Frank was a hatter’s assistance in their father’s hatter and hosier business. Sister Annie was a school teacher.
At the turn of the century, having enlisted into the army, ill-health prevented him from sailing to fight in South Africa.
In 1900 George’s father took over the business of Dennis Brothers at 2 Duke Street.
The 1901 census found 27 year-old George living with his parents, four siblings and a servant still at Cottage Place. His father was a hatter, hosier and shopkeeper, and his daughter Annie, and sons Frank and George assisted in the business.
In 1906 George moved to Canada. Five years
later the census found his parents at 108 New London Road in Chelmsford (today’s number 129, pictured).
After the outbreak of the war George unsuccessfully attempted to join the Canadian army. He crossed to England and enlisted into the 4th Reserve Battalion of North Somerset Yeomanry at Bath, Somerset on 1st June 1915 for the duration of the war, At the time he was 39 years and five months old, five feet ten and a half inches tall, and employed as a groom. His father was his next of kin.
George embarked for France from Southampton on 22nd September 1916, landing at Rouen the next day. He was transferred to the Dorset Regiment on 4th October 1916 with a new service number of 19187.
He became ill in France on 16th November 1916. He was in the 4th Northern General Hospital Lincoln from 22nd November 1916 to 7th December 1916 convalescing from bronchitis. He was classified by a medical board as class c on 9th January 1917. He was admitted to hospital the next day and removed to England on board the St Patrick on 13th January 1917. Two days later he was transferred to the Horton (County of London) War Hospital in Epsom, Surrey.