JOHN CRAWFORD KNOX (Career Brief)
Born at Omaha, Nebraska, on 10 February 1900, of the late Henry Massengale KNOX and Laura McNAIR (both native born citizens).
Educated at Omaha & Canal Zone Grade Schools, then won a scholarship at Groton School, Groton, MA - graduated in 1919. Matriculated at Harvard, then at Oriel College, Oxford University, England (4 terms). Was graduated as foreign cadet from the French Military Academy, Saint-Cyr, in 1923 (B.S.). Spent several years, serving on a special foreign rating, as 2nd and 1st Lieutenant in the Foreign Legion, a platoon and company CO on active duty in French Morocco and Algeria.
Later, after years of business experience in both France and the USA, saw service again with the French as a volunteer through June 1940. Named Captain (Specialist- Reserve) by the Chief, Military intelligence Division, War Department, was sent to French North Africa in early 1941 as Vice Consul (to provide a protective "cover"), and called by Ambassador Robert D. MURPHY (later Assistant Under Secretary of State) to serve directly under him at Algiers (out of more than 12 chosen for this special assignment). Also, worked directly under instructions from the Military Attaché, Tangiers Legation, and the Naval Attaché, the "cover" of the Chief, first overseas OSS Agency, Colonel W. A. EDDY, USMC, (later Minister to Saudi Arabia).
Called specially to Allied Force Headquarters (Gen EISENHOWER), London, early in September 1942, took an active part in the final planning phases of the North African landings and was in the assault part at Algiers (Sidi-Ferruch) on 8 November 1942 as Deputy to the Special Representative of the President (R.D. MURPHY), on the staff of the Commanding General, Eastern Assault Force; played also an important combat role as planner and chief of the OSS - SOE combined assault landing teams.
As a roughyardstick to measure the success of the difficult missions during those two years, was given a double promotional jump to Lieutenant Colonel (AUS)and made Executive to General Julius C. HOLMES, Liaison Section, charged with relations with the French Armed Forces, General GIRAUD and his provisional Government. Established requisition policies for the entire Mediterranean Theater and directly supervised the initial implementation: also, with screening travel priorities and visas to and from this Theater. Performed several special missions for General W.B. SMITH, as officer in charge of the Italian Armistice Mission prior to and during the negotiations before the Salerno landings, among others.
Chosen specifically by Major General SPALDING for his special staff section, the Joint Rearmament Committee, entrusted with the supervision of the equipment, technical training, and verification of combat readiness of all French & foreign units in North Africa and Italy, was charged with wide liaison and training schools duties. Retained by Generals H.F. LOOMIS and A.F. KINGMAN.
Was one of five officers called by General LOOMIS for transfer to SHAEF Mission (France), in Paris, where similar duties given in respect to Underground forces (“FFI”), to bring them under military control. Among other specific jobs, acted as sole screener for French Military POL requirements far the Combined Allied Petroleum Board.
Shortly after V-E Day, was transferred to Graves Registration Command as Battalion and Group CO, in charge of all activities in Austria, Hungary and Romania with HQ in Vienna, with many small detachments scattered throughout this area. With extraordinary difficulties to face, mostly through required negotiations with Soviet, Satellite and other foreign authorities, and the constant loss of key or trained personnel because of hasty ever changing redeployment schedules, was highly commended for the efficiency, rapidity and scope of operations in the most highly sensitive area of the Command. Was also awarded the Commendation Ribbon by the Theater Commander for establishing and initially supervising the radio, press and allied public relations programs,
Upon return to the States in late 1947, was selected for integration in the Regular Army (10 to 15 candidates per place) as a Major, Quartermaster Corps (Lt Col, AUS). Served two years as Deputy and Chief of the Industrial Planning Office, Industrial mobilization, Philadelphia QM Depot, then passed one year as Instructor on the Faculty of the Armed Forces Information School, specializing after graduation in Public Relations.
Following another transfer, to the PQMD again at the personal request of the Commanding General, Hugh HESTER, and 20 months as a Chief of Division, was assigned to HQ, Allied Forces Central Europe, Fontainebleau, France in August 1951 and appointed Senior ADC and Special Assistant to the Commander-in-Chief, Marshal of France Alphonse Pierre JUIN as well as his personal interpreter for all maneuvers, CPX'S, important conferences, and confidential meetings with senior American and Allied Commanders, with Civilian Authorities, even with the Germans on occasion.
On 31 July 1953, was retired under provisions of the Personnel Act of 1947 (PL 381 80th Congress) and recalled to active duty the next day for one year at the request of General Robert RIDGWAY (then Supreme Commander at SHAPE) and Marshal JUIN. This duty was further extended, through General Alfred GRUENTHER, until July 1955.
As a key member of MarshalJuin’s immediate military household derived considerable support from the Marshal's proved warm backing and continuing sponsorship. All personal or efficiency reports, national orinternational, throughout this difficult tour of duty, were in or very near the top five per cent of officers of similar rank.
There are many commendations in the personnel (201) file, both in the form of citations (conferring awards ordecorations), such as one given personally & signed by the late President Franklin D. ROOSEVELT, as well as from Generals Robert M. LITTLEJOHN, Ray PORTER & H.F. LOOMIS, or as official letters from Generals EISENHOWER, W.B. SMITH, R. RIDGWAY and A. GRUENTHER, from Cordell HULL, Robert D. MURPHY, among others.
Following his retirement from the military in 1955 worked for the European Exchange System at the Nuernberg, Germany headquarters and later was a Military Science Instructor with the University of Maryland Overseas Program. Retired in 1966 to Andover, England where he died on January 21, 1990.
Wife & Family - Joan Fry Tuyl KNOX was born at Alexandria, Egypt, on 15 May 1909, the elder daughter of the late Rev. Lucius George Pownall FRY (M.A. Cambridge University) and Elsie Grace NEWTH, both native born British citizens. Adopted her two sons, Denis Anthony and Arie Derek by her first marriage to the late Gerard A. TUYL, a Dutch agricultural engineer & reserve lieutenant, among the first Resistance leaders shot in Holland. Wife and boys were naturalized U.S. citizens in 1951. A daughter Sandra, was born in 1944 at the U.S. Army 29th Station Hospital, Algiers.
Joan KNOX was one of the charter members & original founders of the Resistance Movement in Algeria, although cut off from all funds prior to June 1940 and with the added handicap of two small boys and her widowed mother to provide for. Her network set up the first practical radio contact with Gibraltar and London. She was decorated with the British KMC (King's Medal of Courage), ranking with their DSO (for military personnel) or the American DSC, as well as the French Resistance Medal, and received an American citation. She was mainly educated in French Schools (the Lycee at Algiers) and was bilingual. After the Allied landings in 1942, she became a member of OSS, serving for that Agency in the joint Intelligence Collecting Agency (JICA) and in branches of Psychological Warfare for some two years.