|Date of Birth||November 22, 1882|
|Place of Birth||St. James, London|
|Next of Kin||Lydia Fox (mother), 142 Abbey Road, West Ham, Stratford, London, England|
|Trade / Calling||Locomotive fireman and mechanic|
|Religion||Church of England|
|Service Record||Link to Service Record|
|Battalion||239th Battalion (Railway Construction Corps)|
|Force||Canadian Expeditionary Force|
|Enlisted / Conscripted||Enlisted|
|Address at Enlistment||Minaki, Ontario|
|Date of Enlistment||August 17, 1916|
|Age at Enlistment||33|
|Theatre of Service||Canada|
|Prisoner of War||No|
Private Alfred John Fox was born in St. James, London, England. His father, George William Fox, was from Dorset and his mother, Lydia Jones, was born in Woodford, Essex. They were married in London in 1879 and Alfred was one of nine children: Ellen Lydia, George Henry, Alfred John, Charles, Florence, Rose, Ada, Winnifred and one other child who died young. Although he gave his birth date on his attestation as 22 November 1886, Alfred was most likely born on 22 November 1882. He was baptized on 4 February 1883 in Woodford Bridge, which is now part of Greater London.
Alfred joined the Royal Navy in August 1899, at age 16, passing himself off as two years older and signing up for a twelve-year term. He served as a stoker for three years on at least three different ships, the Scylla, the Furious and the Duke of Wellington. When the 1901 census was taken he was on board the Furious, which was anchored at Sheerness on the southeast coast of England. He was transferred to the Duke of Wellington on 15 September 1901 then invalided to shore on 4 October 1901 and discharged from service, with his character described as very good. Sometime after that he immigrated to Canada.
The war started in August 1914 and when Alfred enlisted he was living in Minaki, Ontario and working as a locomotive fireman and mechanic. He signed up in Winnipeg on 17 August 1916, joining the 239th Battalion (Railway Construction Corps). The unit was mobilized at Valcartier, Quebec and recruits were mostly experienced railway men. Alfred was sent to Valcartier and he had a medical exam there on 5 September. He was found to have a deformed right thigh, the result of a gunshot wound 15 years earlier (possibly the reason for his discharge from the navy in 1901). His right calf was atrophied, he walked with a limp and marching caused him pain. He was discharged from service at Valcartier on 12 September 1916, due to being medically unfit.
Nothing is known yet about Alfred’s life after his time in the army, and his date of death and place of burial have not been found.
By Becky Johnson