Lester and George Foreman

Lester and George Foreman

polygon wood exNArchnZ MIASHUP

George Edmund Butler, The Battle of Polygon Wood, c.1916-1918,, National War Art Collection, Archives NZ with inset of Lester Foreman ex Auckland Weekly News, Auckland City Libraries

James and Sarah Foreman married in 1891 and settled in Tinui. Their eldest child, Eric Lester (known as Lester) was born in 1891, with George born in 1893. Here were four other children, all attending Tinui School.

By 1914 Lester was a fencer and George a farmer. The brothers enlisted in April 1916, with consecutive service numbers (Lester 20320 and George 20321). They did not go to the same unit – Lester was in the N.Z. Rifle Brigade and George to the Auckland Infantry Regiment reinforcement.

They sailed from New Zealand in August 1916, for further training in England. Lester spent some time at the machine gun school at Grantham. It was September 1917 before he arrived in France. During the winter of 1917/1918 the New Zealand Division was allocated the Polygon Wood area near Ypres. Here, Lester was killed on 6 January 1918, probably by artillery fire.

George went to France in February 1917,part of the 2nd Auckland Battalion. He spent six months with the British Army Purchasing Board. George had several bouts of sickness but survived the war and returned to New Zealand in April 1919.

George resumed farming north of Tinui. He died in 1973.