Dr. Harold Emile Foex was born in Sugar City, Colorado on the 6th of November, 1907. Dr. Foex was the youngest of 2 children born to Harold Emile Foex and the former Ethel Elsie Teters. His father worked at a sugar mill and he had a sister named Beatrice Foex (1902-1962). In 1910 the Foex family lived in Scotts Bluff, Nebraska, but Dr. Foex and his family moved to Chatham when he was a young child. His father was born in Auxerre, France and educated in private schools before graduating from the University of Texas. Mr. Foex was the Superintendent at the Dominion Sugar Company in Chatham. He was badly injured at the refinery on the 29th of July, 1929 and died from his injuries on the 3rd of August, 1929 at the age of 50. Dr. Foex was educated at the Central School and then Chatham Collegiate Institute.
Dr. Foex attended The University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine. He graduated M.D. in 1932 and L.M.C.C. the same year. He interned as a Junior Intern at Harper Hospital in Detroit, Michigan and then as a Senior Intern in Pathology at the Banting Institute (Toronto) and Toronto General Hospital from 1933-1934. He trained as a surgeon at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, Ontario from 1934-1935. From 1935 -1936, Dr. Foex was a resident in surgery at Radcliffe Infirmary in Oxford, England.
Dr. Foex married Phyllis Marjorie Graves-Morris on the 17th of September, 1938 in Thamesville. He had met his wife while he was working in Oxford (England). Mrs. Foex was born in Oxford on the 17th of January, 1916. She was the 3rd of 4 children born to Dr. Cecil Graves Morris and the former Enid Marjorie Bishop. Mrs. Foex’s father was a dentist and her siblings were; Cecil Dudley Graves-Morris who was born on the 14th of January 1912 in Cambridge England, William Russell Graves-Morris who was born on the 21st of May, 1913 in Cambridge and a sister who was born in Oxford the same year as Mrs. Foex on the 29th of December (1916).
Dr. Foex set up his medical practice in Chatham. He had practicing privileges at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Public General Hospital.
Dr. and Mrs. Foex had 3 daughters: Judith, Caroline and Elizabeth.
On the 9th of August 1940, Dr. Foex enlisted with the Canadian Army Medical Corp. and served with the No. 2 Canadian General Hospital in Goose Bay, Labrador. At the time of his enlistment, his office was located at 51 Sixth Street in Chatham.
A credit to Gathering Our Heroes for the following information in regards to Dr. Foex’s World War II contribution: ‘Captain Foex was the first Medical Officer of the 1st Battalion Kent Regiment, enlisting with the Regiment in 1940. Dr. Foex then went to Chorley Park Military hospital in Toronto and from there to Labrador with the C.A.M.C. In 1942 he was stationed at Chorley Park, Toronto, ON. as second in command of surgery. From there he went across the Atlantic in 1943 with No. 2 Canadian General Hospital. While at Bramshot, England he treated casualties from the D-Day invasion of Normandy, France for two months before going to the continent. He took a surgical team up to the front at Caen then moved to Liseux, Bolounge and Antwerp as the Canadian Army advanced. Major Foex would come off the line in December of 1944 returning to No.2 General Hospital then located at Ghent, Belgium.’
Dr. Foex was invested as a member of The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire. Two incidents were detailed as follows during the medal presentation. “On the 25th of June, 1942, when several men were killed or maimed by the explosion of a large quantity of dynamite at Lewisporte, Newfoundland, Captain Harold Emile Foex, Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps was sent immediately by plane to organize and carry out surgical procedure. This he did in a resourceful and most efficient manner, under very adverse circumstances. Owing to the entire lack of suitable hospital arrangements and supplies, it was necessary to improvise an operating room and set up surgical treatment. It was due to this devotion and ability that more fatalities did not occur.” Further, “At Botwood, Newfoundland, on October 3rd, 1942, when an American Export Air liner crashed in Botwood Harbour, Captain (Acting Major) Harold Emile Foex, Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps showed exceptional skill in his handling of the many serious cases resulting therefrom. The fatalities in the accident were minimized as a result of his ability and his long hours of work with untiring energy. Noteworthy was his absolute refusal to cease his care of the casualties until he was assured that his part of the work was fully carried out and that everything else that was possible to do for them had been done.”
After his service to his country, Dr. Foex returned to Canada in 1945 and he resumed his surgical practice in Chatham. In 1967 his office was located at 195 Wellington Street West.
Dr. Foex was a member of the Canadian Medical Association and he served as the President of the Kent County Medical Society in 1955. He was a member of the Chatham Rotary Club.
In his spare time Dr. Foex enjoyed music and fishing.
Dr. Foex died at his residence, 500 King Street West on the 2nd of May, 1968. Mrs. Foex died in May of 1993. Dr. and Mrs. Foex were buried at Maple Leaf Cemetery in Chatham.
*Dr. Foex is featured on the Gathering Our Heroes website and the webmaster is grateful for their assistance. His father served during WWI for the United States Military. Mr. Foex served for the United States, but his next of kin, his wife Elsie was listed as living at 5 Raleigh Street in Chatham.
**Mrs. Foex’s father served with the British Army during WWI. Her brother William also became a dentist.
***Dr. Foex’s sister Beatrice Foex trained at the Toronto General Hospital and became a registered nurse. She married Dr. Clarence Edward Albert Hassard in Toronto on the 6th of July, 1935.
***The Chatham-Kent Museum assisted with providing a military photo of Dr. Foex……with thanks.