Born at Crumfin, Yorkshire in 1890,
At the 1891 Census William, only 1, appears to have been living at his grandmother's house with his mother and older sister Elizabeth.
By the 1901 Census, his sister had married and the 10 year old William was living wither her and his brother in law at 23 Ribblesdale Street, Burnley. At the 1911 Census, William was living with his sister and brother-in-law as a lodger at 125 Abel St, Burnley.
In February 1908, having turned 17, William enlisted in his local Territorial artillery battery; he had only just completed his service terms in 1914. William was employed as a coal miner in Burnley, Lancashire at the time of the outbreak of war.
William enlisted into the Manchester Regiment in Nelson, Lancashire and served with the 12th Battalion on the Western Front as from 16th July 1915.
Serving in the southern Ypres Salient for much of his early service, William took part in the fighting on The Bluff during the early spring of 1916 before moving to the Somme where, on the 1 July, his battalion was kept in reserve.
In action in the vicinity of the ‘Quadrangle’' support trench near Mametz on 7 July 1916, William was killed in action during the second attack and his remains never identified.
His name is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial.
4675 Pte. William Edward Foster, 12th Bn Manchester Regiment
7 July 1916 killed in action
Research by David O'Mara
Ancestry.com. England Census Returns 1891, 1911, British Army WWI Medal Rolls Index Cards, 1914-1920 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA:
Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2008. Original data: Army Medal Office. WWI Medal Index Cards. In the care of The Western Front Association.
UK Army Register or Soldier's Effects
The National Archives of the UK; Kew, Surrey, England; WWI Service Medal and Award Rolls; Class: WO 329
The National Archives of the UK; Kew, Surrey, England; First World War and Army of Occupation War Diaries; Class: WO 95
The Burnley Express 9 th & 12 th August 1916
Commonwealth War Graves Commission (www.cwgc.org )
Soldiers Died in the Great War – HMSO 1921
Greater Burnley Roll of Honour Pub: Burnley 1920
The 12th Battalion The Manchester Regiment 1914-1919 Edited by Robert Bonner
The Manchester Regiment 1758 to 1958