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Clifford Fozard

Clifford Fozard Private Clifford Fozard, 202322, King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, 5th Battalion

Clifford Fozard was born in Ossett in 1886, the youngest child of Edward Fozard and his wife Sarah Ann (nee Mitchell) who married at South Ossett Christ Church on the 29th March 1863. The couple had twelve children from their marriage, but sadly four of them had died before April 1911. Their eight surviving childen were born between 1864 and 1886.

In 1891 Edward Fozard, a rag merchant, and Sarah Ann with six of their eight children were living on Back Lane, Ossett. By 1901 Edward and Sarah Ann and three of their children, including Clifford had moved to Westfield Street, Headlands where 64 year-old Edward Fozard was now earning his living as a grocer and Clifford had begun work as a mill hand.

Edward Fozard died in late 1904 aged 66. In 1911 the widowed Sarah Ann Fozard was living on Westfield Street with four of her children, including her widowed daughter and Clifford who was still employed as a mill hand.

On the 20th May 1916, at the United Methodist Church, Dale Street, Ossett, 30 year-old Clifford Fozard of 18, Westfield Street, Ossett married 28 year-old spinster, Ann Elizabeth Gothard of 3, Wycliffe Street, Ossett. Clifford was a packer at a rag machine but by now, also Private, 5221, King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry.

The 1/5th Battalion of the King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry was formed in August 1914 at Doncaster as part of the 3rd West Riding Brigade, West Riding Division. The Battalion on mobilisation was in Doncaster and in November 1914, moved to to Gainsborough. They moved on to York in February 1915 and on the 12th April 1915, the Battalion landed at Boulogne. On the 15th May 1915, the formation became 148th Brigade, 49th (West Riding) Division. On the 2nd February 1918, the Battalion transferred to 187th Brigade in 62nd (2nd West Riding) Division and absorbed 2/5th Battalion. The new combined unit was renamed the 5th Battalion, KOYLI.

Clifford Fozard was killed a few days after the second Battle of Havrincourt, which took place on the 12th September 1918. Three divisions of the Third Army attacked the village of Havrincourt: the 62nd Division, New Zealand Division and 37th Division. Defending Havrincourt were four German divisions, from the 3rd and 10th Corps. In the normal course of events, the 62nd Division would not have been there but they had been given the Havrincourt sector out of respect for their performance there in 1917, the 62nd (West Riding) Division took Havrincourt and the 37th took Trescourt.

The "Ossett Observer" 1 had this obituary for Clifford Fozard:

"Ossett Soldier's Fate - Relatives and friends of Private Clifford Fozard (32), K.O.Y.L.I., a well known Ossett soldier, are gravely concerned as to his fate. A comrade, visiting home on leave from the front last week, brought disquieting news, and a few days ago the sergeant of his platoon, who lives in Dewsbury, also home on leave, confirmed this. He says on September 15th, Fozard was entrusted, along with two other men, to convey an important message after some heavy fighting, and he and one of his comrades were shot by a sniper, while the third man was wounded. The sergeant says he afterwards found Fozard's body. Private Fozard is a son of Mr. Edward Fozard, of Headlands, and since joining the army married a daughter of Mr. Fred Gothard, of Wycliffe-street, off Church-street. It is close upon two and half years since Private Fozard went into the army, and he has had much experience of the fighting. Proceeding to France in January of last year, he was twice wounded, once being blown up by an enemy shell and buried while operating a Lewis gun. He was invalided to this country, but returned to the Western Front last Easter Monday, and letters from him recently state that he has been 'over the top' many times."

Clifford Fozard’s army service record has not survived, but it is known that he enlisted at Ossett, and that he was posthumously awarded the British and Victory medals. He did not serve overseas before the 31st December 1915, but may have enlisted before this date.

Private Clifford Fozzard, was killed in action on the 12th September 1918, aged 32 years, the husband of Ann Elizabeth Fozard, of 3, Wycliffe St., Ossett. He is remembered on Panel 8 at the Vis-En-Artois Memorial,2 Pas de Calais, France. Vis-en-Artois and Haucourt are villages on the straight main road from Arras to Cambrai about 10 kilometres south-east of Arras. The Memorial is the back drop to the Vis-en-Artois British Cemetery, which is west of Haucourt on the north side of the main road.

This Memorial bears the names of over 9,000 men who fell in the period from 8 August 1918 to the date of the Armistice in the Advance to Victory in Picardy and Artois, between the Somme and Loos, and who have no known grave. They belonged to the forces of Great Britain and Ireland and South Africa; the Canadian, Australian and New Zealand forces being commemorated on other memorials to the missing.

The Memorial consists of a screen wall in three parts. The middle part of the screen wall is concave and carries stone panels on which names are carved. It is 26 feet high flanked by pylons 70 feet high. The Stone of Remembrance stands exactly between the pylons and behind it, in the middle of the screen, is a group in relief representing St George and the Dragon. The flanking parts of the screen wall are also curved and carry stone panels carved with names. Each of them forms the back of a roofed colonnade; and at the far end of each is a small building.

References:

1. "Ossett Observer", 5th October 1918

2. Commonwealth War Graves Commission web site