(Service number 24155)
|First Rank||Private||Last Rank||Private|
|Date||6 December 1895||Place of Birth||Rangiora|
|Date||5 February 1916||Age||20 years 2 months|
|Address at Enlistment||Kingsdown Nr Timaru|
|Previous Military Experience||2nd South Canterbury Regiment (still serving)|
|Next of Kin||Mrs J. FOSTER (mother), Weedon's, Canterbury; Mrs Ann J. FOSTER (mother), Springston Railway, Canterbury|
|Religion||Church of England|
|Medical Information||Height 5 feet 8¼ inches. Weight 134 lbs. Chest measurement 33½-36 inches. Complexion fair. Eyes grey. Hair light brown. Sight and hearing both good. Colour vision correct. Limbs well formed. Full and perfect movement of all joints. Chest well formed. Heart and lungs normal. No illnesses. Free from hernia, varicocele, varicose veins, haemorrhoids, inveterate or contagious skin disease. Vaccinated. Good bodily and mental health. No slight defects. No fits.|
|Served with||NZ Armed Forces||Served in||Army|
|Body on Embarkation||New Zealand Expeditionary Force|
|Unit, Squadron, or Ship||13th Reinforcements, Canterbury Infantry Battalion|
|Date||27 May 1916|
|Transport||Willochra or Tofua|
|Embarked From||Wellington||Destination||Devonport, Devon, England|
|Other Units Served With|
|Last Unit Served With||NZ Machine Gun Corps|
|Service Medals||British War Medal; Victory Medal|
Award Circumstances and Date
Prisoner of War Information
|Date of Capture|
|Where Captured and by Whom|
|Actions Prior to Capture|
|PoW Serial Number|
|Date||17 August 1919||Reason||No longer physically fit for war service on account of wounds received in action (Bomb wound right leg & left knee|
Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses
2 October 1917 (or 29 September; date unknown), France - suffered shrapnel wounds to legs, arms & head; admitted to hospital in France. 3 October at No. 1 Australian General Hospital at Rouen – seriously ill, right leg amputated. 14 October still seriously ill. Embarked per the “Grantully Castle” for England; 15 October 1917 admitted to NZ General Hospital at Brockenhurst – gunshot wounds to left shoulder, scalp and legs. 17 & 29 October still seriously ill. 9 November removed from seriously ill list. 12 February 1918 transferred to Walton-on-Thames Hospital. 9 July 1918 supplied with first artificial right leg. 18 January 1919 left Walton on leave; 16 February re-admitted from furlough to 2nd NZ General Hospital at Walton-on-Thames – re gunshot wound to right leg. 2 April 1919 admitted to 2nd NZ General Hospital at Walton-on-Thames from furlough re his amputated right leg.
|Date||5 February 1955||Age||59 years|
|Place of Death||Dunsandel|
|Notices||Press, 7 & 8 February 1955|
|Memorial or Cemetery||Crematorium Christchurch|
|New Zealand Memorials|
Frederick Foster, sometimes known as Fred, was the fourth son of Joseph (aka George Joseph) and Annie (Ann, née Fox) Foster. Annie Fox, who was born in Oxfordshire, England, married Yorkshire-born Joseph Foster on 6 December 1895 at Clarkville, Kaiapoi Island, Canterbury, New Zealand. Frederick was born on 6 December 1895 at Rangiora. He attended Lincoln School from April 1904 until April 1910 when he transferred to Prebbleton School. In August 1911 he moved back to Lincoln. He may well have been the F. Foster who was placed first in the boys’ high jump at the Lincoln District High School annual sports in the grounds of Lincoln College on 10 December 1909. On the fifty-fourth anniversary of the Loyal City of Norwich Lodge of Oddfellows, which was celebrated in the Lyttelton Oddfellows’ Hall in September 1905, first prize for a pianoforte solo by a boy was awarded to Master F. Foster. Was this young Fred? Maybe not. Master F. Foster was again the winner of a boys’ music prize at the Norwich Lodge competitions for children of lodge members in August 1906. Joseph Foster died on 5 August 1912 and was buried in the Springston Public Cemetery.
When the call went out for men in November 1915, both Frederick Foster, Kingsdown, Timaru, and his brother Henry Foster, Teamster, Lincoln, registered for the Army Service Corps at the Christchurch Defence Office. In December 1915 at Timaru, Frederick Foster and three mates were convicted and discharged on a charge of failing to attend drill. Frederick Foster had registered for compulsory military training at Lincoln and belonged to the 2nd South Canterbury Regiment. The South Canterbury recruits for the Thirteenth Reinforcements left Timaru by the second express for the north on the afternoon of 9 February 1916. They paraded at the Timaru Drill Hall at 3pm and were addressed by the Mayor of Timaru (Mr E. R. Guinness), Mr J. Craigie, M.P., and the Rev. T. A. Joughin. Then headed by the Band of the 2nd (South Canterbury) Regiment, they marched to the railway station where they entrained for camp. The name of F. Foster, Kingsdown, appeared in the Infantry list.
Single and of Church of England affiliation, he named his mother as next-of-kin – Mrs J. Foster, Weedons, Canterbury. He stood at 5 feet 8¼ inches, weighed 134 pounds, and had a chest measurement of 33½-36 inches. His complexion was fair, his eyes grey and his hair light brown. His sight, hearing and colour vision were all good. His limbs and chest were well formed, his heart and lungs normal. Having had no illnesses, diseases or fits, he was in good bodily and mental health, and was vaccinated. He enlisted on 15 February 1916 at Trentham. He was then a farm hand for A. H. Trott at Kingsdown near Timaru. Probably the Foster and Trott families were acquainted as Alfred Trott, though older, had attended both Springston and Lincoln schools. Fred may well have worked for Mr Trott at Springston and moved with him to Kingsdown. When a farewell social was arranged at short notice for Private Foster in the Kingsdown School on 27 April 1916, Mr A. H Trott was there and gave a recitation. Others gave songs, recitations and a piano solo. Private Foster was presented with a wristlet watch. Refreshments were afterwards enjoyed by all present, and the young then engaged in a dance.
Private F. Foster embarked with the Canterbury Infantry Battalion of the 13th Reinforcements, leaving from Wellington on 27 May 1916 and disembarking at Devonport on 26 July. He marched in to Sling from the Reinforcements on 28 July and was posted to the 2nd Canterbury Company. After marching out to Grantham on14 September, he proceeded overseas to France with the New Zealand Machine Gun Corps on 29 September. Within a day or two, Frederick Foster’s service in France had begun and ended.
Frederick Foster’s name appeared in casualty list No. 690, published in early October 1917. F. Foster, Machine Gun Corps, had suffered shrapnel wounds to the legs, arms and head on 2 October (or 29 September; date unknown) and admitted to hospital in France. His next-of-kin – his mother, Mrs A. J. Foster – was then of Springston Railway. The hospital report of 3 October listed him as seriously ill at No. 1 Australian General Hospital at Rouen, his right leg having been amputated. It was reported later in the month (14 October) that he was still seriously ill. He embarked per the “Grantully Castle” for England where, on 15 October 1917 he was admitted to the New Zealand General Hospital at Brockenhurst – gunshot wounds to left shoulder, scalp and legs. Still seriously ill on 17 October and 29 October, at the end of October he was reported to be progressing favourably and on 9 November he was removed from the seriously ill list. At the Kingsdown School picnic in late December 1917, the Mayor read a list of names of those who had been educated at other schools but enlisted from Kingsdown, among them Fred Foster, “severely wounded in France, now in hospital”. He was transferred to Walton-on-Thames Hospital on 12 February 1918. It was on 9 July 1918 that he was supplied with his first artificial right leg. Leaving Walton on leave on 28 January 1919, he was to report back on 12 February. He was re-admitted from furlough to 2nd NZ General Hospital at Walton-on-Thames on 16 February, as result of the gunshot wound to his right leg which was amputated. Leaving Walton for furlough on 12 March, he was to report back on 26 March. F. Foster was admitted to the 2nd New Zealand General Hospital at Walton-on-Thames on 2 April 1919 re his amputated right leg.
On 9 June 1919, F. Foster of Springston (an amputee case) embarked at Southampton for home by the hospital ship “Marama”, which arrived on 17 July 1919, with 672 men aboard. “Mrs J. Foster, of Springston, has received cable advice that her son, Private Fred Foster, is returning to New Zealand by the Marama. He was severely wounded at the front, losing a leg and sustaining other injuries. He was engaged in the Lewis machinegun section and had three years’ active service in France. Before leaving for the front he was engaged in farming pursuits, for Mr Alf Trott, of Springston, and he also worked at Timaru. He was educated at Lincoln. His brother Henry is still on service in Egypt. Another brother, William, has returned to the Dominion.” [9 July 1916.] Sadly, Fred Foster saw so much more of hospital than battlefield. Frederick Foster had lost his right leg and suffered gunshot wounds to his left knee joint, making him eligible for a pension. He was discharged on 17 August 1919, no longer physically fit for war service on account of wounds received in action (bomb wound right leg and left knee), and was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.
At the Springston Public Hall in August 1919, a welcome home social was tendered to a number of soldiers who had lately returned from the front. The gathering was fairly large. The programme was given by the Farmers’ Co-op. Concert Party from Christchurch, the programme consisting of songs, choruses, and glees. During the interval the chairman took the opportunity of extending a hearty welcome home to Private F. Foster and Trooper H. Foster and eight companions, two of them absent. Because Private F. Foster, and Trooper H. Foster had not received a medal when leaving for the front, they were presented with the district’s gold medal to mark the appreciation of the people. Trooper H. Foster suitably replied.
A social to welcome home from active service Private F. Foster and two other Kingsdown locals was planned for Friday, 26 September 1919, in the Kingsdown School. But, on the day, the social was postponed until further notice. It was rescheduled for Thursday, 2 October – Gents 2s.6d, Ladies a basket. On the occasion, the school was well filled and the proceedings were very hearty. After musical items, the chairman presented Private Foster and Trooper Hughes with gold medals, the recipients being greeted with hearty applause. The chairman complimented the two men on returning from active service in such good health and the medals were pinned on the breasts of the soldiers. Trooper Hughes suitably replied for himself and Private Foster. After supper later in the evening, the young people continued dancing. “Private F. Foster was severely wounded in France about a year ago, but has recovered wonderfully well. Trooper Hughes saw a good deal of service in Egypt, and has returned looking very fit.”
Frederick Foster remained with Mr Trott at Kingsdown for a few years, moving in the mid-1920s to Kirwee where his brother Henry was a farm manager. In 1931 he was with Henry in Christchurch, Henry’s wife having died in 1928. While Henry married again and moved to the West Coast, Frederick may have been a pensioner at Waitohi or retired at a Wellington hospital.
Frederick Foster died suddenly on 5 February 1955 at Dunsandel, aged 59 years. His service was held at the Crematorium Chapel. Frederick was remembered dearly by a Christchurch friend and her family, and by his brother Henry and his wife. His sister and at least one brother predeceased him. The estate of Frederick Foster, a war pensioner of Christchurch, was administered by the Public Trustee – cash, accrued Social Security and effects amounting to £122. His mother Annie remained in the Springston district for some years before moving to Templeton where her daughter and sons George, Walter and Arthur were living.
Fred’s mother, Annie Foster, died on 7 September 1940 at the residence of her only daughter at Templeton and was buried at Springston Cemetery with her husband, Joseph Foster. A plaque erected, later it appears, on their grave by their loving family from Matai West Coast, is inscribed “Dearly loved parents of George, Harriet, Henry, Frederick, Arthur & William.” The son William took the name of Walter (Wally) in adulthood, perhaps to distinguish him from his older half-brother William. And what happened to their son John? It is known that Henry was on the Coast; Walter also died there. A brother of Frederick also served in World War One – Henry Foster (Lincoln), who registered with Frederick for the Army Service Corps at the Christchurch Defence Office in mid-November 1915. Trooper Henry Foster returned home in August 1919. And William Foster, an older half-brother of Frederick and Henry, also served in World War One, returning home before Fred and Henry. Jack Foster, farm labourer, Weedons, whose name was drawn in the second Military Service Ballot in December 1916, may well have been another brother. As may have been George Foster, labourer, Weedons, who was called to the colours in the fifth ballot in March 1917. He was one of the reservists ordered to report to the group commander on 17 May for medical examination. Jack was one of the reservists ordered to report to the Defence authorities on 22 November 1917 for medical examination. “Section 13 of the Military Service Act, 1916, provides that every man who has been called up for service under that Act may be required from time to time by the Commandant, by notice in the “Gazette,” to report at any time and place, and if he fails duly to present himself at the time and place notified he may be tried and punished under the Army Act for the offence of desertion or of absenting himself without leave, as the case may be.”
Auckland War Memorial Museum Cenotaph Database [20 May 2016]; NZ Defence Force Personnel Records (Archives NZ Ref. AABK 18805 W5537 0041548) [22 May 2016]; NZ BDM Indexes (Department of Internal Affairs) [20 May 2016]; Lyttelton Times, 11 September 1905, 8 August 1912, 13 November 1915, 15 October 1917, 3 November 1917, 9 July 1919, 26 August 1919, Press, 27 August 1906, 10 December 1909, 15 & 23 October 1917, 14 & 19 November 1917, 9 July 1919, 26 August 1919, 9 September 1940, 7 & 8 February 1955, Timaru Herald, 7 December 1915, 9 February 1916, 2 May 1916, 16 October 1917, 28 December 1917, 20, 23, 26 & 30 September 1919, 7 October 1919, Sun, 15 December 1916, 14 March 1917, 13 & 15 October 1917, 9 July 1919, 1 August 1919, Star, 21 May 1917, 13 & 20 October 1917, 9 July 1919, Dominion, 9 October 1917, 14 November 1917, Evening Post, 13 & 20 October 1917, Ellesmere Guardian, 27 August 1919 (Papers Past) [20, 21, 22 & 23 May 2016; 6 April 2022; 22 & 24 March 2023; 23 & 24 May 2023]; School Admission registers (Canterbury Branch NZSG) [20 May 2016; 22 & 24 March 2023]; NZ Electoral Rolls (ancestry.com.au) [21 & 23 May 2016; 2 May 2023]; Probate record (Archives NZ/Family Search) [24 May 2016]
Researched and Written by
Teresa Scott, South Canterbury Genealogy Society
Currently Assigned to
Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License unless otherwise stated.
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