LIEUTENANT LESLIE ARTHUR CLIFFORD FOSTER
THE KING'S (LIVERPOOL REGIMENT)
13TH APRIL 1918 AGE 25
BURIED: LAPUGNOY MILITARY CEMETERY, BETHUNE, FRANCE
Leslie Foster was the eldest of his parents three sons. The family lived in Radstock near Bath in Somerset where father, Thomas Foster, was a building contractor. At the time of the 1911 census Leslie gave his occupation as 'In joiners shop and student'.
Foster served originally as a private in the Somerset Light Infantry, reaching the rank of corporal before receiving a commission in the 13th Battalion The King's (Liverpool Regiment) on 28 August 1917.
On 9 April 1918 the German's renewed their offensive in what has become known as the Battle of the Lys. At the time the 13th were out of the line but they were ordered to 'stand to' and bussed to Bethune where they were placed in reserve. During the 10th the battalion repulsed several enemy advances round Loisne. On the 11th they were involved in very heavy fighting as the Germans advanced in great numbers round Festubert and Cailloux, the regimental history reporting that 'The enemy's shell-fire on the 11th was terrific', going on to add, 'The men were now very tired and shaken, for two days they had been fighting and had had practically no sleep". Nevertheless, 'D' company of the 13th were involved in a counter-attack during the night of the 12/13 April that recaptured Route 'A' Keep, which the enemy tried to retake but were repulsed.
Foster died on the 13th. His father asks 'why?'. In military terms because the fighting was desperate and the 13th played a vital role in slowing the German advance, but then Mr Thomas Foster's question is really asking why we were at war at all and what had his son's death achieved. It's a big question.