William Henry Fox

William Henry Fox  1898 – 1954

William, son of William Charles and Sarah Jane (née Sneller), was born in Shepherdswell on 12th July 1898, and baptised in the parish church on 14th August that year. He was one of at least eight children. 

The 1901 Census showed the family living at Moon Hill, with William senior giving his occupation as hay binder. William senior died in 1908, when William would have been only ten years old. William sat the examinations for a scholarship offered by Kent County Council the following year and was successful in winning one. In 1911, Sarah was the head of the house; William’s 25 year-old brother, Albert, and twin sisters Ethel and Kathleen, aged 15, were all out at work at this stage but were living at home.

Finding War records for William has proved difficult; there are a couple of William Henry options although neither holds the right identifiers for our man, lots of Williams, and many men with the initials of W or WH. An 

Ancestry family tree suggested that he went to the Western Front and was at the 3rd battle of Ypres, with a photo showing him in Army uniform, taken in 1917. There appears to be a pith helmet in the photo, which was not usual uniform for France, so this information may not be correct.

Following the War, he came back to the village, and a newspaper report in 1930 confirmed that he was working as a cashier at Tilmanstone Colliery. He married Alice Edith Emma Webster of King’s Lynn in 1936. They do not appear to have had any children. 

In 1937, William was elected to the Parish Council, when it was noted that he was the only serving member who had been born in the village. The 1939 Register showed that William and Alice were living at Daneswold on Mill Lane. He was still working as a colliery cashier and was part of the ARP Rescue and Demolition team. 

A Dover Express article in December 1942 reported him as the commanding officer, a captain, for the Kent Home Guard 7th (Lyminge) Battalion, Shepherdswell (B) Company. This may indicate that he had reached an officer rank during WW1. By the time that the Home Guard had their Falling Out Parade at the end of 1944, he had reached the rank of Major. 

William was still living at Daneswold when he died at the age of 55 on 6th May 1954.