FOREMAN, William

No. G/12058, Corporal, William James FOREMAN
Aged 25

13th Battalion, Royal Fusiliers
Died of his Wounds on Tuesday 26th September, 1916

Born in Exning on June 25th, 1891 [Newmarket 3b:507], the son of James and Frances FOREMAN (née NORMAN) of Church Street, Exning.

1901 census...At 2 Oak Terrace, Exning were William[1], his father James [36], a domestic coachman, born Camden Town, London...his mother Frances [40] born Dalham..brothers Alfred [12], Ladas [6], Frank [3] and Robert [1]. All the children were Exning born. A sister, Ada Elizabeth had died in 1895 aged 5

1911 census...The family were still at 2 Oak Terrace, but Alfred had left home, William was a domestic gardener, Ladas a general labourer, Frank was an errand boy and Robert was still at school.

The illuminated scroll in St Martin's Church gives his address as Jockey Club Terrace, Exning

William's entry in "Our Exning Heroes" reads as follows:

Foreman, W.J.   13th Batt. Royal Fusiliers
William James Foreman was born on June 25th, 1891, and received his education at Exning School. He joined up at the commencement of the war, and after a few months training, went to France. On September 25th, 1916 he was very dangerously wounded as he was standing in his gun position in the front line of trenches. He was at once taken to the casualty clearing hospital but never recovered consciousness, and passed peacefully away early the following morning. The Captain of his Company writes:
"Corporal Foreman was an excellent man in the line, and an N.C.O. I can ill afford to lose. Always cheerful and keen, he was ready to carry out his orders to the last letter. His loss is keenly felt by the Company. He is buried in a cemetery right behind the line. One of my officers was present at his funeral, and I hope it will be a comfort to you in your trouble to know that he had a Christian burial and was buried with military honours."
Before the war he had worked for Lord Durham.

The Cambridge Independent Press of 6th October 1916 reported :-
Corpl.Foreman, son of Mr. Wm Foreman of 2 Oak Terrace, Laceys Lane, Exning, serving with the Royal Fusiliers, was killed in action on September 25th. He was 25 years of age and for five years was employed by the Earl of Durham as a gardener at Harraton House. He left Exning for Polesden, Surrey, where he was gardener in the service of the Hon.Mrs.Ronald Greville, when he joined the Army in January 1915. Mr.William Foreman has still two sons in the Army, Ladas in the Royal Irish Rifles and Frank in the R.F.A., both serving in Ireland.

He is not recorded by "Soldiers Died". The 13th Royal Fusiliers were part of 111th Brigade of the 37th Division on the 25th September 1916 when he was wounded. If they were in the front line he was must unlucky as he appears to be the only one killed that week in his battalion. It was the 11th battalion that actually suffered dearly on the 26th during their capture of Thiepval. There are accounts which show that some of 111 Brigade's Battalions were loaned out to other formations, so he might not have been in all of 37 Division's activities but could have been under others at some time. On the other hand Barlin Cemetery was used by 5th CCS and was quite a way from Thiepval.

photo: Rodney Gibson

photo: Rodney Gibson

William is buried in Barlin Communal Cemetery Extension Ref: I.D.38

click here to go to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website for full cemetery/memorial details