Memorial to war hero ‘Tiny Ted’

Published: 25 September 2018

First world war hero Edward ‘Tiny Ted’ Foster has been commemorated with a permanent memorial in the a small French town he helped liberate.

The Mayor of Wandsworth Cllr Piers McCausland and a cross-party group of senior councillors, former council officers and Mr Foster’s family went to Villers Plouich this weekend to unveil the memorial. The town was the scene of an act of bravery by the Tooting dustman that earnt him the Victoria Cross.

Villers-Plouich was liberated by Wandsworth’s battalion during the 1917 advance to the Hindenburg Line. The battle for control of the village raged between April and September, and cost the lives of five officers and 87 men from the so-called Wandsworth ‘Pals’ -  the 13th (Service) Battalion (Wandsworth), the East Surrey Regiment.

During the battle Corporal Foster famously stormed up a ravine firing a Lewis gun and helped to dislodge German machine-gun positions.

After the war the people of Wandsworth raised funds to rebuild the shattered community of Villers-Plouich and the council unofficially ‘adopted’ the village in 1920. In 2001 the village reaffirmed its ties to the borough by renaming a square ‘Place de Wandsworth’. The impressive memorial to Corporal Foster was erected following a fundraising drive by the people of the town.

Corporal Foster and other Wandsworth heroes are also remembered by the new Haine Court, Lascelles House and Edward Foster Court on the Patmore and Savona estates, as well as memorial stones in the town hall’s garden of remembrance.

Councillors, officers, local groups and borough residents regularly visit Villers-Plouich. The visits are funded privately by those who attend, with zero cost to local taxpayers.

Cllr McCausland said: “It was an absolute honour to attend this event, and I would like to thank the people of Villers-Plouch who have erected this fitting monument to a very brave man.

“This year, the centenary of the end of the first world war, is a fitting time to remember Wandsworth heroes and the sacrifices they made during a truly awful conflict. We owe them all a debt and I’m pleased that there is now a permanent reminder in the place where Corporal Foster behaved with such selflessness and courage.”