Remembering a man from the Norfolk Battalion

Mr Foreman has recently been in touch with us here at Norfolkinworldwar1.org with both some information about his family’s service during the First World War and also to ask if anyone can help fill in some of the blanks as he starts his journey in to family history research.

I am Robert Dennis Foreman and I was wondering if you were interested in the story of my 2nd Great Uncle William George Foreman who was born in April 1884 in Blo Norton Norfolk and who died on 7th Nov 1916 in Basra; and also in his brother’s (my Great Grandfather Dennis) war?

William Foreman was part of the 2nd Norfolk Battalion and Dennis (1881 – 1966) was in the RAMC as a despatch rider. Dennis was also born in Blo Norton to John Foreman and Harriet Foreman (nee Ayers) but moved to Simonstone in Lancahsire to work on the Huntroyde Farm estate of Nicolas Le Gendre Starkie who was a wealthy landowner here.

My Great-Grandfather lived after being taken prisoner in Cassel after what looked to be a harrowing war experience but sadly my 2nd Great Uncle was not so fortunate.

He was taken prisoner on April 29th 1916 in Kut-el-Amara (in the Siege of Kut) when the battalion was forced to march to Aleppo. Many men died along the way but William survived this march – only to die of malaria according to his record. His regiment number was 8013 and he rose to the rank of Sergeant. Dennis Foreman’s Regimental Number was 103030 and he became a Lance Corporal.

There are 2 letters existing in William’s file where his mother (my 2nd times Great-Grandmother Harriett Ayers 1854 -1931) pleaded with the War Office to let her know what had happened to her son. They are heartfelt as shortly after she penned the letters it became known he had died while a prisoner. In these documents someone has written on the soldier’s small book DEAD in red pen and this was sent to my grandmother with a report stated there was no grave and therefore she couldn’t visit if she wanted to and was able. (Some research on the Commonwealth War Graves site tells us that W.G. Foreman is commemorated on panel 10 of the Basra War Memorial, along with 40,639 other names )

While I do have a picture of my Great-Grandfather Dennis, I sadly have no picture of William and I would dearly like to have one if anyone reading this can help?

Dennis Foreman

Some further research into William’s life and death has shown a discrepancy into cause of death. The Norfolk Regiment Casualty book records William as dying of dysentery not malaria and Robert and the Norfolkinww1 team are wondering which is most likely to be accurate…

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