Name: Cecil Maitland Foss

 

Birth Date: 10 February 1891 Where: Western Australia
Died: 11 August, 1916 Where: Pozieres, France
Place of Enlistment: Blackboy Hill, WA Age: 24
Serial Number: 2nd Lieutenant Battalion: 28th
Rank on Enlistment: 2nd Lieutenant Rank on Discharge/Death: Captain

Awards: 1914 - 15 Star, British War Medal 1914 - 1920, Victory Medal, Military Cross

 

Photograph Foss

Service Details:

 

 

25 February

1915                      Blackboy Hill Training camp

9 June

1915                      Embarked from Fremantle

August

1915                      Embarked Egypt

10 Sept. – 12 Dec.

1915                      Gallipoli

21 March

1916                      France

6/7 June

1916                      Trench Raid

29 July – 27 Aug.

1916                      Pozieres (Sausage Valley)

4 August

1916                      Pozieres

11 August

1916                      Died of wounds, Pozieres, Belgium

 

 

 

 

Biographical Details:

Date

 

            Event

 

 

 

25th Feb.,, 

1915

Blackboy Hill Training Camp

10th Sept.,

1915

Gallipoli

10th Jan.,

1916

Disembarked Alexandria ex Mudros

21st Mar.,

1915

France

27th Aug.,

1915

Appointed Lieutenant

1st Mar.,

1916

Appointed Captain

6/7  June,

1916

Trench Raid

8th June,

1916

Recommended for Military Cross

4th  Aug.,

1916

Pozieres

11th Aug.,

1916

Died of wounds, Pozieres

17th Sept.,

1916

Recommended Mention in Despatches

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cecil Maitland Foss was born near Geraldton WA in 1891 to parents Cecil and Isabella Foss 1915. His birth registration shows “Maitland” to be his only Given Name.  He had two brothers, Ernest and Clinton who were both killed during the war, and two sisters. The three brothers, all farmers, tossed a coin to see which brother should stay behind to look after the farm.  Ernest – the eldest – “lost” the toss but later enlisted anyway. He joined the 11th Battalion and was killed on 3rd June 1918. Henry enlisted in the 10th Light Horse but later was transferred to the 28th Battalion.  He was killed on 3rd May 1917. Cecil Foss, who enlisted in February 1915, was appointed a Sergeant and soon after attended a school of instruction for officers. Subsequently he was appointed 2nd Lieutenant and quickly rose to the rank of Captain. He was in command of B Coy when he was killed at Pozieres in 1916.
Although Cecil Foss was the CO Assault during the Trench Raid, he was also involved in the planning and the training program. He personally led several scouting patrols into no man’s land during the weeks leading up to the raid.  His efforts were recognized with the award of the Military Cross:
For conspicuous gallantry when in command of a raid on the enemy's trenches. Considerable loss was inflicted on the enemy, and three prisoners were taken. Captain Foss was the first to enter and the last to leave the enemy's trenches.

Following the raid the AIF commander sent Foss a letter of congratulations. The General wrote:
"1st ANZAC Corps, France, 18th June. 1916. My Dear Foss,-This is a line to congratulate you most heartily on the Military Cross, for which I was so pleased to be able to recommend you. I much wished I would be able to see you before you left, to congratulate you most heartily on the very successful raid which you carried out on the German trenches. I was particularly anxious that this, the first raid made by our corps since our arrival in France, should be a complete success, and I was really pleased when it turned out to be so. This was only possible when complete and detailed arrangements of every sort had been made beforehand, and these you made. Again, my heartiest congratulations, and thanks to you for it. -Yours sincerely, M. J. Birdwood.
Foss’s leadership was also recognised during the battle at Pozieres when he was recommended for a Mention in Despatches:

For Gallant conduct and able leadership in the attack on Pozieres Ridge -4/5th July [sic] 1916, in which he was severely wounded.
This award was not conferred.
During the attack on Pozieres Ridge, in August 1916, Foss had been in charge of both C and D companies when the 28th Battalion launched a counter attack against the Germans at the Windmill . Foss was badly wounded and died 6 days later on 11th August 1916. He was buried at Puchevillers Military Cemetery.
In 1938 a memorial window and plaque to the three Foss brothers was unveiled in the Soldiers’ Memorial Chapel in St George’s Cathedral in Perth.

Foss Plaque

Plaque in the Soldiers’ Chapel, St Georges Cathedral, Perth, WA for Cecil and his two brothers



Memorial Plaque in Kings Park, Perth, WA



Welborn, “Lords of Death”, p 64

Sunday Times (Perth, WA : 1902 - 1954), Sunday 22 October 1916, p 1

Should be W. R. Birdwood

P 19 “The 28th Battalion, A Record of War Service”, Kahan

Geraldton Guardian, Saturday 21 October 1916, page 2