William Foulkes

by Lyn Brick

Here's some information about my great uncle William Foulkes. I have also attached a photo of him and a copy of some letters that he sent home to his sister.

Born 1897, Wallsend, New South Wales. Second child of Bennett Charles Foulkes (born 24 January 1874, Mow Cop, Staffordshire, England) and Elizabeth Caisley (born 1874, Rothbury, Durham, England).

Worked for a short time as a cordial bottler at a factory in Newcastle. On 1 December 1915, at age 18, enlisted in the Australian Imperial Forces (AIF) and appointed to C Company 35th Battalion as a Lance Corporal.

On 1 May 1916 he left Sydney aboard troopship Benalla and arrived in Plymouth, England on 9 July 1916. Promoted to Corporal on 4 September 1916, then transferred to France on 21 November 1916.

Fought in the Battle of Messines at Etaples, France in June 1917.
Wounded in action on 8 June 1917 (gunshot wound to the right thigh).
Transferred to England on 10 June 1917 and admitted to Southern General Hospital, Birmingham.

Rejoined his unit in Rouelles, France on 6 September 1917, then promoted to Sergeant on 21 September 1917.

Killed in action on 12 October 1917 at Passchendaele Ridge, Ypres, Belgium during the Third Battle of Ypres. His body was never recovered.

"On October 12, 1917 the II ANZAC Corps attacked Passchendaele. Although some of the forward units reached the outlying buildings of the village they were forced to fall back. During the eight week period leading up to and including the attack on Passchendaele the AIF suffered the most severe casualties for any period during the war with a total of 38,000 casualties, which resulted in a reinforcement crisis that was never overcome. The AIF was withdrawn from the Ypres area before Passchendaele was eventually captured on 10 November 1917 by the 1st Canadian Division."