FOREMAN, Cecil Henry

No.5425, Sergeant, Cecil Henry FOREMAN
Aged 26

8th Battalion, East Surrey Regiment
Killed in Action on Friday, 12th October 1917

Cecil Henry Foreman was born in Lackford in December 1890(Thingoe Q1-1891 4A:751) baptised in Lackford, St Lawrence on 22nd February 1891, son of Henry and Emma Alice FOREMAN (née KEEBLE).

1891 census...Aged 4 months, he was at The Green, Lackford with his father Henry FOREMAN [36] domestic gardener born West Stow; his mother Emma A [28]; brother Arthur [6]; sister Edith B [2]. All except his father were born in Lackford.

1901 census...Aged 10,he waqs at Manor Cottages, Lackford with his parent, sister Edith and brother Hugh [8] born Lackford

1911 census...Aged 20, a journeyman gardener, he was at The Gardens, Cavenham boarding with Charles WARD, foreman gardener, with 4 other gardeners. His parents were still in Lackford

The pension card initially has the family in Lackford but on the death of his father, his mother moved to Hardwick Road South, Bury St Edmunds.

Enlisted in Bury St Edmunds.
The battalion were engaged in the 3rd Ypres, known as Passchendaele, trying to advance toward Poelcappelle despite the appalling weather and terrain. The mud was quite capable of drowning a man who fell. The start tapes were laid from Gloster Farm to Terrier Farm. A heavy enemy barrage accompanied by gas greeted the start of an unsuccesful operation.
The war diaries of the East Surrey Regiment are very lengthy and the 12 Oct can be found here
CWGC records show 92 killed, of which only 18 have identified graves.

The Bury Free Press of 3rd November 1917 reported

Mr.and Mrs. H.Foreman, of Lackford, have received the sad news that their second son, Sergt Cecil Henry Foreman, of the 8th East Surrey Regiment was killed in action in France on the 13th October last. He was 26 years of age. He volunteered his services soon after the declaration of war, and before joining the Army was employed by Mr. Goldschmidt, in Cavenham Park Gardens for eight years, and was much respected by all who knew him. He went to France in July 1915, was first wounded in the Somme battle on 30th September 1916 and returned to France in June of this year, being slightly wounded again on July 31st. The news of his death has been received with deep sorrow and much sympathy has been expressed with the bereaved parents and relatives in their sad loss. Mr. and Mrs. Foreman have two other sons and son-in-law serving their country in France. The following letters have been received form his comrades and from the Captain of his company:-
"Dear Mr. Foreman - It is with the deepest regret that I have to inform you your son, Sergt. C. Foreman, was killed in action on the 13th of this month. He went up the line as acting Sergt-Major of this Company. His loss is keenly felt, as part from being a fine example of a soldier and a man, he was the most efficient Sergeant I had, and his handling of men under fire was really marvellous. I trust the knowledge that his death was instantaneous and that he suffered no pain may prove some small consolation to you. May I, on behalf of the whole Company, offer you our deepest sympathy on the death of so fine a soldier, and I am sure, a good son -Yours faithfully, Albert L.Hall. Captain, o/c D Company"

"To Mr. and Mrs. Foreman - Dear Sir - We are very sorry to have to write and tell you the very sad news of Cecil. The Battalion went into action on the 12th, and he was killed on the 13th with his Company Officer by a shell, and they were both buried together.I cannot tell you just where he was, but you will know it was close to the place I told you when I came to see you. We all miss him very much, as he was such a good comrade. I saw him a few hours before he was hit, and he was quite cheerful. He did not suffer any pain. He was killed as soon as he was hit. It will be a hard blow to you, but we thought best to let you know, as it may take some time before you hear from the War Office. Please accept all our deepest sympathy for you all, and also his young lady, Miss Rose, in your great sorrow. We remain, yours sincerely F.G.Newman W.Mendham"

"Dear Miss Foreman - Doubtless by now you have heard of your brother's death in action on the 13th.May IO take the opportunity of expressing my heartfelt sympathy with you in your terrible loss. I was your brother's Company Sergt-Major, and I can say without fear of contradiction no finer fellow ever donned a uniform than your brother. I am afraid this is but poor appreciation of one who had made the most supreme of sacrifices. He was both respected by his men and admired by his officers, and all join with me in offering you our heartfelt sympathy. Trusting you will bear up in this, your time of sorrowing - Allow me to remain, yours in sympathy H.Gould, Company Sergt-Major."

The scene of the action

Remembered on the family grave in Lackford

photo: Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Cecil Foreman is buried in Poelcapelle British Cemetery, grave 1:A:4

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