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Eleanor Elizabeth Fox nee Pratley
Grandma Fox was born in Birmingham in 1883. She was the daughter of Charles Pratley who travelled the country on various construction projects and took his large family with him. I remember her in her later life when she was crippled with rheumatoid arthritis and confined to a chair. She was always crying out with pain whenever she was moved and died in 1955.
She met grandad when he and great grandad Pratley were working on the Cabin Dam in the Elan valley in Wales and they married in 1906. They had a large family of which Mum was seventh in line born in 1914. The other siblings are as follows:
Ernest; born 1907 but died as a baby.
Mary; Twin of Ernest and died as a child of hooping cough.
Hilda; born 1909 and married Sid Stanton in 1935. They had one child, Pauline.
Wilfred; born 1910 and married Joyce Homan in 1943. They had one child Ronald.
Henry Clifford; born 1912 and married Kathleen Vaughn in 1936. They had three children Marilyn, Patrick and Michael, the former living just North of Sydney, Australia last time I visited. Uncle Cliff was a Naval Commander eventually having worked his way up through the ranks. Served on HMS Hood and HMS Nelson before WWII and was an instructor at HMS King Alfred where he was known as Mr Bloody Fox. His kids knew him as Captain Bligh and I remember going out sailing with him on the Solent when he was in charge of boom defence at Gosport.
He sailed on the Arctic convoys, Malta convoy, Italian landings, D Day landings, Atlantic convoys and was present on HMS Nelson for the signing of the Italian peace treaty. He was at Singapore dockyard for two years after the war and when he retired moved to Norwich. My Dad introduced him to growing Fuschias and he aquired the bug big time, becoming the president of the British Fuschia Society. He was rumoured to have every hybrid of the species growing in his garden at one time.
Next to be born was Mum in 1914 followed by twins Mary and Ernest in 1917 who were named after the other twins that died young. Ernest was born with club feet and died at 9 years old. Mary married Alfred Catley in 1942 and lived in the same Birmingham street as her mother who she nursed until grandmas death in 1955. They then moved down to Somerset and bought a house in Cannington next to Mum and Dad.
Uncle Ronald (pictured with Aunty Mary above right) was born in 1920 and was in a reserved occupation during 1940/41 building airfields. His ambition was to become a RAF fighter pilot but his occupation prevented that until he volunteered for bomber command when he was immediately accepted as an air gunner. His Stirling bomber was shot down over Stuttgart in April 1943, aged 22 and he is buried at Durnbach War Cemetery in Germany. There is a photograph somewhere of Uncle Ron holding me in his arms in his RAF uniform just before he died and I will try to get a copy on this page in due course.
Finally there came Uncle Syd who was born in 1927 and who we used to see a lot of after our family moved down to Somerset. It was he who drove us down to find a house in Somerset and he and his wife Sheila used to come down to stay with us on many occasions. He was a toolmaker in Birmingham and they also had a general store for a time. He built his own special car in the late 1940's based on an AC Ace sports car. They had three children, Heather, Michael and Adrian and eventually moved to live in Darwin, Australia in 1982 and he is still there. His wife died of cancer in 2003 aged 69.
Uncle Syd has often returned to the UK to visit relatives of the family and, together with cousin Ron (last heard of in Spain), has carried out much of this research into the Fox's. My daughter Rebecca visited him in Darwin in 2013 with her husband Tom and my two youngest grandchildren Henry and Matilda.
Created on Jun 10th, 2015