Private/Lieutenant Harold Egbert Foizey 15/343

Private/Lieutenant Harold Egbert Foizey

Born. 1885.
Killed in action 1/7/1916, Age 31.

Harold Egbert Foizey, the son of Benjamin and Alice Foizey of Tipton, Staffordshire was working for Messrs. Stewarts & Lloyds (Ltd), Iron and Steel Manufacturers of Neville Street, Leeds when the war started.

He enlisted as a private soldier with the "Pals" in September 1914. Early in 1915, the army realised that they were lacking in "leaders of men" so, because of his education, he, along with many of his fellow "Pals" were offered commissions. On the 24th May 1915 he was given a temporary commission as a Lieutenant with the 18th Battalion West Yorkshire Regiment (2nd Bradford Pals) only 8 months after enlisting in the Leeds Pals.

He had the rare distinction of training in both the Colsterdale and Skipton (Bradford "Pals") camps respectively, and served in Colsterdale, Skipton, Egypt and France.

Corporal, (Bradford "Pals") Norman Goldthorpe’s diary entry for the 1st July 1916 reads:

At 08:20, I remember saying a little prayer and just before we climbed out, our Officer Lieutenant Foizey said " I know that I will not come back", I told him " to believe he would as I certainly believed I would"
The entry continues:

"I scrambled out behind Lieutenant Foizey with his section of Bombers………….. having not travelled more than 30 yards or so the section was reduced to 4 men. Lieutenant Foizey ordered his small party to take cover behind a small hillock, whilst he went forward to see what was happening, but he was killed covering only a couple of yards."

Another account published in the Yorkshire Evening Post, of 10th July 1916, is from a letter written by George William Cosby (Leeds"Pals") to Foizey’s sister it reads:

I saw Lieutenant Foizey tumble over the back of a trench, wounded in the thigh, I made him comfortable, and had his wounds dressed, and placed him in a traverse at the back of the trench, soon afterwards a terrible explosion took place, throwing up all the sandbags and earthwork, in the immediate neighbourhood, and burying several men, together with Lieutenant Foizey.

What really happened? We will never know !

Norman Goldthorpe survived the war eventually gaining a commission with the East Yorks Regiment. On the 1st of July 1974 he made a final pilgrimage to France, and now in his late seventies, visited the grave of Lieutenant Foizey. On his return he wrote the following in his old First World War Diary:

"Fifty eight years to the day, on the 1st July 1974, I was to stand beside his grave in Euston Road Cemetery, and pay my last respects, to a very gallant Gentleman"

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