No.41508, Lance Corporal, Alfred FOREMAN
Aged 34

13th Battalion, Essex Regiment
formerly No.32998, Suffolk Regiment
Killed in Action on Saturday, 28th April 1917

Alfred Foreman was born in Cowlinge in 1882 (Risbridge Q3-1882 4A:558), baptised in Cowlinge on 13th November 1889, son of Stephen and Pamela Mary FOREMAN (née GOOLD).

1891 census...Aged 8, he was at New England, Cowlinge with his father Stephen FOREMAN [50] gamekeeper, born Pakenham; his mother Mary [50] born Brettenham; brothers Arthur [18] labourer born Pakenham and Stephen [11] born Cowlinge. There were two elder sisters Alice Adelaide (TWEED) 1868-1935 and Beatrice (PEACOCK) 1870-1952.

1901 census...Aged 20, a gamekeeper, he was at No 2, Bridge Cottages, Great Welnetham boarding with Mark and Sarah LAST. His parents and brother Stephen (farm labourer) were now at Village Street, Hengrave.

In 1904 he married Ada Alice PASK (b. 5-11-1879)in Hengrave.

1911 census...Despite years being added each census - now appears to be aged 33, a gamekeeper at Tower Lodge, Nash Brakes, Thornton, Bucks with his wife of 7 years, Ada [31] born Bury St Edmunds. Alfred's place of birth is recorded as Newmarket, but this does appear to be the couple. His parents and brother Arthur and Stephen were in Hengrave with a Mary Foreman [7] born Sapiston but recorded as daughter but her parents not identified.

Probate has the address in 1919 as Euston, nr Thetford.

The Bury Free Press of 23rd June 1917 had the following report:
"A EUSTON LANCE CORPORAL MISSING- We sincerely regret to hear that Mrs A.Foreman of Barnham Road, Euston, has received official intimation that her husband 41508, Lce-Cpl A.Foremen of C Coy, 13th Batt. Essex Regiment, has been posted as missing since an engagement on April 28th. Up to present no further news has been received, and any tiding of him are anxiously awaited by Mrs Foreman and relatives, if any of his comrades who were with him on that date can supply any information.
Previous to joining up Lance-Corporal Foreman was a game keeper on the Duke of Grafton's estate, where he was well known and held in great respect by many friends."

The photograph in the newspaper must have been taken when he was serving in the Suffolk Regiment.

He enlisted in Thetford while resident in Euston, Thetford. Register of Soldiers Effects entry says he died of his wounds on or shortly after 28th April 1917.

The battalion war diary for the 28th is very long and detailed. In summary however:-
They formed up at 0200, our artillery barrage commenced at 0425 and by 0438 they had crossed the enemy front line trench except for the extreme right, help up by uncut wire and machine gun fire. Contact was lost with the Marine light Infantry on the right,maintained with the 17th Middlesex, but lost with the Highland Light Infantry on the left. The advance continued to the eastern end of OPPY WOOD. They were then attacked by bombing parties of Germans and machine gun fire from OPPY VILLAGE. The enemy were seen advancing down SUNKEN ROAD and at the CRUCIFIX.
At 0550 a company of Kings Royal Rifles attempted to form a defensive flank at B.18.d.3.5. but were unable to get further than the British front line owing to heavy enemy fire. The 17th Middlesex on the left then came under heavy attack and a large number of Germans got through OPPY WOOD and to the rear of the line, re-occupying part of their own front line. A senior officer was sent to try and clear up the situation but was not seen again.
At 0900 troops were ordered to pull back and hold and consolidate the German front line. Only a few parties managed this but were unable to cope with the enemy fire. All of the officers had become casualties, and most of the NCOs and what was left of the battalion was disorganised and exhausted. Small parties held out but eventually retired to the old British line, running from shell hole to shell hole.
Casualties were officers killed 2 - O Ranks 3; wounded Officers 4 - O Ranks 79; missing Officer 8 - O Ranks 240

CWGC records put a different light on it, with a total of 126 killed and only 4 having identified graves.

The Bury Free Press of 17th November 1917 reported:-

It is with deep regret we have to announce that Mrs. Foreman of Barnham Road, Euston has received official intimation that her husband, 41508 Lce-Corpl.A.Foreman, C Company, 13th Batt., Essex regiment, who was officially reported missing on April 28th is now reported killed in action, or died of wounds received in action on that date. Lance-Corpl Foreman was first of all wounded in the wrist by a bullet, and shortly afterwards a very light shell burst and killed him almost instantly. Many kind letters of sympathy have been received by Mrs.Foreman in her sorrow, including one from His Grace, the Duke of Grafton, in whose employ her husband was a gamekeeper previous to joining the Army, where he was held in great respect by his many friends.

The site of the KRR objective mentioned above. The dark green of Oppy Wood seen just behind the marker

photo: Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Alfred Forman is commemorated on the Arras memorial, bay 7
also on the Flempton cum Hengrave war memorial

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