Major Forrest Melvin Cox was born on 20 February 1916 in Carrollton, Greene County, Illinois, USA, the youngest of the three children of Joseph Ivan Cox (1891-1969) and Alta Maria Cox née Barrow (1893-1931). His father was a farm labourer.
He was training as a service pilot and went to Canada where he joined the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. He came to England aboard the SS Tilapa of the Cunard White Star Line that arrived on 11 August 1941 in Liverpool. Lancashire, having travelled from Montreal, Canada, via Sydney, Nova Scotia. The ships manifest listed him as a 1st Class passenger travelling with eight other Air Pilots who all gave their address in the UK to be the British Air Ministry Headquarters, London. His eight travelling companions were: Hugh Card Brown, James Geiger Coxetter, Kenneth LeRoy Holder, Lewis Benjamin Louden, John Joseph Lynch, Donald William McLeod, James Elvidge Peck and Robert Spraque.
The American Air Museum in Britain website gives some details of his service as a Pilot Officer in No.121 (Eagle) Squadron, No.266 (Rhodesia) Squadron, and No.151 (Fighter) Operational Training Unit in Risalpur, India. On 29 August 1942 he transferred to the United States Army Air Force in Delhi, India, with the rank of First Lieutenant. Returning to the USA, he was in the Walter Reed Hospital, Bethesda, Maryland, recovering from pneumonia, when he was promoted to Captain.
On 23 March 1943 he married Phebe McAdams in Alton, Madison County, Illinois and they had two children. He continued to serve at Luke Field air force base in Arizona and by June 1944 he had been promoted to the rank of Major. He left the USAAF on 1 April 1947 and became a house builder in Phoenix, Arizona.
He died, aged 45 years, on 22 April 1961 in a helicopter crash that he was piloting in Verde River Canyon, Yavapai County, Arizona, on a return flight from Camp Verde to Phoenix, Arizona. The helicopter had hit the static line on a power line, causing it to crash and explode. All three men on board died.
Credit for this entry to: Andrew Behan.