King Edward’s School and the Great War

Memorial Roll of Honour 1914 - 1918


Foley, William Alfred

Acting Captain ▪ Royal Irish Fusiliers

William Alfred Foley, born on 31st May 1895 in Queensland, Australia, was admitted to King Edward’s School in September 1907. His School Record Card lists several addresses, including: The Gables, Bristol Road, Edgbaston; 12, Charlotte Road, Edgbaston; and Tianjin, China. During his time at School, he boarded with Mr Hume, a KES schoolmaster, together with several other KES boys, at 212, Bristol Road, Edgbaston. William’s father, John, is listed as a clerk, but his mother, Susan, is recorded on the 1901 Census as being the head of the family, “living on her own means”, suggesting that she was independently wealthy. Susan lived with her aged mother and her five children before William went to board with Mr Hume.

At School, William was an accomplished sportsman. He was a gymnast, a cricketer (63 not out against Worcester), a rugby player (“a perfectly cool full-back, handling and kicking very well”), a swimmer (with full colours), diver and general athlete. He was also a Corporal in the School Officer Training Corps.

William went to Sandhurst immediately upon leaving School, earning a commission as a Second Lieutenant in the Royal Irish Fusiliers in 1914. He was first wounded in France in 1915, but by 1917 he had been promoted to Acting Captain. He was killed in action on 1st November 1917 in the Somme region, aged twenty-two. He is buried in Rocquigny-Equancourt Road British Cemetery, France.