William Archibald Foy M.C.

William Archibald Foy M.C. ©

William Archibald Foy M.C. ©

Date of birth: 8th October 1893
Place of birth: Southampton
Service No.: Not known
Rank: 2nd Lieutenant
Regiment: Royal Sussex Regiment
Battalion: 4th
Died: 6th November 1917 aged 24 years
Death location: Palestine





This photograph is © Richard Taunton Sixth Form College. Southampton Cenotaph Families and Friends Group have received permission to reproduce this photograph and extracts from the narrative on the Old Tauntonians’ online War Memorial:http://www.ota-southampton.org.uk/memorial/index.html

Please do not reproduce the photograph or any wording from this page.  If you want permission to use this photograph or narrative please contact the College on email@richardtaunton.ac.uk.


Life before the War
William’s father was Sidney Herbert who was born in 1859 at Yorktown, Camberley, Surrey, dying in 1920 leaving a Probate mentioning his wife, daughter and a friend:
“Foy Sidney Herbert of Camberley 159 Hill Lane Southampton retired died of 28 June 1920. Probate Winchester 17 September 1920 to Emmeline Foy widow Marjorie Kathleen Foy and John Stephens gentleman. Effects £10205.”

His mother was Emmeline nee Haysom born in Southampton in 1865. She died in 1949 lraving a Probate which names her married daughter and solicitor:
“Foy Emmeline of 180 Hill Lane Southampton widow died 17 January 1949 at Green Orchard Heatherlands Road Upper Bassett Southampton. Probate Winchester 4 April 1949 to Marjorie Kathleen Carter (wife of Harold George Carter) and Harold Edmund Abel solicitor. Effects £10780 3s 4d”

William had three siblings who were:

Stanley Herbert b.10th March 1889 and d.1971.  Married Constance Doris Fitzwilliam 30th December 1918.

Kathleen Marjorie b.29th June1895 and d.1991.  Married Harold George Carter 1925.

Doreen May 16th December 1905.

William left a Probate naming his father:
 “William Archibald Foy of 195 Shirley Road Southampton Lieutenant 4th Battalion of the Royal Sussex Regiment died November 1917 Palestine. Administration (with Will) to Sidney Herbert Foy house furnisher. Effects £250 15 shillings 4 pence”

On all the census returns Sidney had run a Drapers shop, firstly at 54 Park Street, then from 1901 the family lived and worked at 195, Shirley Road, where he also run a Sub Post Office as well as the Drapers Business.

By 1911 Sidney, wife Emmeline and son Stanley all worked in the family business. William was a Law Student in a firm of Solicitors.  Both of the girls were still studying at school. The family had engaged a General Domestic Servant as shown in the entire census returns.


War Service


Old Tauntonians’ Memorial Roll

Time at Taunton’s School: 1903 – 1907

Education and Employment: William was born on 8th October 1893 in Southampton. He lived on Shirley Road with his family. After leaving school William studied law, working as an articled clerk for a solicitors firm.

Life during the war: William joined the Inns of Court Officers Training Corps in February 1915 and was gazette to the Royal Sussex Regiment. He served in Gallipoli, and afterwards went to Egypt and then Palestine where he was wounded. He was awarded the Military Cross for devotion to his duty; “He performed excellent work in directing the Lewis guns of his own and other companies, moving from gun to gun continually under heavy fire until wounded. He made his way to another gun and gave orders for its better employment before his wound was dressed” Shortly after leaving hospital, William was killed in action.

William died on 6th November 1917 aged 24 years.

Supplement from the London Gazette dated 18 June 1915

When he enlisted, William’s rank was that of Private. However, he became an officer as confirmed in the London Gazette. “The undermentioned Private, from Inns of Court Officers Training Corps to be Second Lieutenant. Dated 19th June 1915”

Supplement of the Edinburgh Gazette dated 20 August 1917
William was mentioned in the above Edinburgh Gazette. “2nd Lt. William Archibald Foy, R. Suss. R. For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. He performed excellent work in directing the Lewis guns of his own and other companies, moving from gun to gun continually under heavy fire until wounded. He then made his way to another gun and gave orders for its better employment before his wound was dressed”


Beersheba War Cemetery

Beersheba War Cemetery

Beersheba War Cemetery

William is Remembered with Honour at the Beersheba War Cemetery, Israel. The Memorial Register reads:
“Foy Lt. William Archibald, M.C. 1st/4th Bn. Royal Sussex Regt. 6th Nov., 1917. Age 24. Son of Sidney Herbert and Emmeline Foy, of 159, Hill Lane, Southampton. Reference G. 75”

The Foy family paid for an inscription be made on their son’s headstone:
“A Good Soldier of Jesus Christ”.
Also on the centre of the headstone is a Cross.

Foy family grave at Southampton Old Cemetery

Foy family grave at Southampton Old Cemetery

William is also remembered on his family’s grave at Southampton Old Cemetery.  The inscription reads:

In the Loved Memory of Leiut. W.A.Foy. M.C
Royal Sussex Regt.
Second son of Sidney Herbert and Emmeline Foy
Killed in action in Palestine
November 6th 1917, aged 24 years
Sincere in life,
Efficient in service,
Faithfull to duty


Medal Rolls Index Cards

For his service to his country, William received the Military Cross for his actions. He was also entitled to the 1915 Star, British War and Victory Medals.

On the Medal Index Card, William gave both his parents as next of kin. The address for his father was, S. H. Foy, 31, Howard Road, Southampton. For his mother, her residence was Camberley, 159, Hill Lane, Southampton.

Personal Effects – Sidney, his father, was administrator of William’s Effects. On the 16th March 1918, he received £154 19s with a further War Gratuity payment of £5 on 12th November 1919.


Foys Corner c.1949

Foys Corner c.1949

The Foy’s History
In April 1971, Stanley H Foy, the former churchwarden died aged 82. Not only had he been a draper and furnisher at his shop his father had founded in Shirley Road for over fifty years, he had also been a town councillor, representing Freemantle from 1924 to 1945 and a former President of Freemantle Working Men’s Club53. Even when he retired to Rownham’s Green, he still retained a link with the church, and his name adorns the restoration of the small window of St Thomas in the north wall of the Church that he had given in 1969.

The junction of Shirley Road and Howard Road is still locally known as Foy’s Corner after the drapery, furniture and other shops his family kept for over fifty years.



Researcher: Becky Lonergan
Published: 20th July 2015
Updated: Insert dates here

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