Fox, Benjamin C. (801st)

Benjamin C. Fox 1Benjamin C. Fox

The following tribute was researched and written by Richard Grout.

Biography: Benjamin Cecyl Fox “Benny” was born on January 4, 1920, in Cutler, Illinois. He was the son of Harmon Harrison Fox and Anna Marie Rheinecker. Benny had two brothers and four sisters. Though the Fox family lived in a nice home and had plenty to eat, the truth was that “money was hard to come by.” So, after two years of taking classes at Roosevelt High School in St. Louis, Missouri, Benny quit school and began a series of jobs. Later, he worked at Valier & Spies Milling Co. as the head billing clerk.

Service Time: Benny entered the service on December 14, 1942, at Jefferson Barracks, Missouri. He was sent to Fort Hood, Texas for his basic training and was then assigned to Company A of the 801st Tank Destroyer Battalion and trained with them in the United States.

The 801st Tank Destroyer Battalion shipped from Boston, Massachusetts on February 28, 1944, on the H.M.S. Britannic, and arrived in England on March 11th. Originally trained with self-propelled tank destroyers, they converted to the three-inch towed anti-tank gun and landed at Utah Beach on June 13th, participating in the capture of Cherbourg, France.

Benjamin C. Fox 2Fighting at Mortain counterattack in early August, they reached the outskirts of Paris on August 25th and entered Belgium on September 8th, followed by Germany on September 12th. They supported operations in the Battle of Hürtgen Forest beginning in late November.

The unit continued their attack and was on the front line in the Battle of the Bulge, in Ardennes, when the German offensive struck on December 16th. They moved to Aachen, Germany, in February, 1945, and crossed the Roer River on the February 25th, reaching the Rhine River south of Düsseldorf. The unit crossed the Rhine near Wessel on March 29th and supported the drive to the Ruhr, then turning east to the Elbe River.

They transferred south and supported operations in the Harz Mountains in late April and converted to the M18 tank destroyers late that month. Crossing the Danube, they reached the Inn River, outside Hitler’s birthplace, Brunnau, Austria, by May 8th (VE Day).The 801st received credit for campaigns in Normandy, Northern France, Rhineland, the Ardennes and Central Europe. Benny received credit for each of the unit’s campaigns.

In the photo below, Benny can be seen on far right with a few of his buddies, standing in front of a German Panther tank.

Benjamin C. Fox 3After the war had ended, the unit was assigned to occupational duty. It was on July 16, 1945, that Pfc. Benjamin C. Fox died of DNB (non-battle wounds), while guarding the Guttenberg Castle, in Germersheim, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany. He was only twenty-five years old.

Benny was ultimately brought home and buried in the Resurrection Cemetery in Affton, Missouri. I want to thank Benny’s nephew, Richard, for providing the photos and tribute to his uncle. I also want to thank Find A Grave contributor, K. C. Mellem, for the use of the grave marker photo.

Benjamin C. Fox 4