PERCY WILLIAM FOSTER

Photograph & extra information courtesy of Linda Cartmill.

 

Laid to rest at the Field of Honour.

 

Born: 1887, Clarence River, Harwood Island, New South Wales, Australia.

Died: 2:15am, 22nd October 1917; age: 29; Died of Wounds received at Passchendaele- Gun Shot Wound to the right buttock & thigh and Gas Gangrene, at the East Suffolk & Ipswich Hospital, Ipswich.

Place of Association: Casino, New South Wales.

Enlistment Details: Location: Liverpool, New South Wales; Date: 6th January 1916; Age: 28 years & 4 months; Occupation: Farmer; Religion: CofE. Signed of for the Duration of the War + 4 months. Next of Kin: father – Arthur Foster, of Mallanganee. Height: 5fy 11ins, sallow complexion, dark eyes & brown hair. 2 scars on right foreman.

Service:

Embarked Sydney, New South Wales, on board – A72 ‘Beltana’ on the 13th May 1916.

Disembarked Devonport on the 9th July 1916.

29th July 1916 – 2nd November 1916 – 97 days in Fargo a Red Cross Hospital – Fracture of Tibia & Fibula.

Discharged from Fargo Military Hospital – 3rd November 1916.

Rejoined unit from Bulford Hospital – 14th November 1916

Wounded in action – field – 29th January 1917.

Shell Wound – lower extremities – severe – to 24AT – 30th January 1917.

Invalided to England from Boulogne – H. S. ‘Aberdonian’ – shell wound to thigh.

Appointed Lance Corporal – 12th June 1917 – France.

to be Corporal 14th September 1917.

Wounded in Action 3rd Occasion – 12th October 1917.

11th Field Ambulance – 13th October 1917.

No. 44. Casualty Clearing Station – 13th October 1917.

No. 2. Australian General Hospital – 14th October 1917.

Gun Shot Wound – right buttock – to England – 18th October 1917.

Hospital Ship ‘St. Denis’ embarked for England – 18th October 1917.

Admitted to East Suffolk & Ipswich Hospital – 19th October 1917.

 

Offence:

Absent Without Leave from midnight on the 2nd April 1916 to 19:45hrs on the 5th April 1916 – 3 days – Forfeits 3 days pay.

 

Rank: Corporal; Service Number: 83.

Regiment: Australian Infantry, 36th Battalion, Coy A. Australian Imperial Force.

 

Medals Awarded: Victory & British War.

 

Buried: 25th October 1917 – 2pm.

 

Grave Reference:

BA.IA.12.

Ipswich Old Cemetery,

Ipswich.

 

Relatives Notified & Address: Son of Arthur & Isabella Foster, of Mallanganee, New South Wales, Australia.

 

Father: Arthur Foster, born July 1862, McLeay River, New South Wales – died 18th October 1917, Casino, New South Wales.

Mother: Isabella Jane Foster (nee Whitton), born February 1863, Clarence, New South Wales.

 

Percy was educated at a Public School.

Funeral – 25th October 1917 – at 2pm.

The deceased soldier was accorded a full military funeral, firing party, buglers, bearers and gun carriage being supplied by the Northumberland Fusiliers. The coffin was draped with the “Union Jack” and surmounted by several lovely tributes. The “Last Post” was sounded at the graveside. The service was conducted by the Rev. Kerr, Chaplain to the hospital. No relatives were present at the funeral. An oak cross will be erected by the A.I.F.

 

Percy’s personal effects were sent to the Foster family:

Pouch, wallet containing (5 coins, 3 Franc notes), 4 note-books, 2 discs, letters, unit colours, Jack knife, photos, post-cards, kit bag handle and lock & keys.

 

On the 16th June 1922, Isabella Foster received her late son’s Memorial Scroll & King’s Message. On the 8th November 1922, Isabella received the Memorial Plaque, and on the 22nd March 1923, the Victory medal.

AUSTRALIAN SOLDIER’S FUNERAL AT IPSWICH

The funeral took place in the Ipswich Cemetery last week of the remains of Corpl. Percy William Foster, of the Australian Imperial Force, whose death occurred on Monday at the East Suffolk and Ipswich Hospital, to which institution the deceased was admitted on the previous Tuesday, arriving with a convoy of wounded from the Western front. He was in a critical condition on arrival, suffering from severe gunshot wounds, in which gangrene had supervened. Corpl. Foster, who was 29 years of age, was a native of Mallangance, Australia. The remains were accorded full military honours, the coffin covered with the Union Jack, being conveyed from the East Suffolk and Ipswich Hospital on a gun-carriage drawn by a team of six black horses, under the charge of Corpl. Hammond, furnished by ‘A’ Battery, 352nd Brigade, R.F.A., by kind permission of Colonel Goff. A firing party, with buglers and bearer party of six corporals under the charge of Sergt. Hurst, were sent by the Northumberland Fusiliers, by permission of Col. Hay, the officer commanding. The funeral service was read by the Rev. W.F. Kerr, rector of St. Peter’s, and chaplain to the East Suffolk and Ipswich Hospital. The funeral was attended by Mrs. G.F. Archer, visitor to the Australian Red Cross Society, and Miss K.M. Packard, hon secretary to the Victoria League; whilst there were present at the graveside Warrant-Officer Yeomans, representing the Administrative Headquarters, Australian Imperial Force, London; Lance Corpl. Hanrahan, M.G.C., A.I.F., and Pte. Walters, M.G.C., A.I.F. Floral tributes were sent by the Victoria League, the Ipswich Woman’s Guild, Mrs. E.C. Ransome, Mrs. G.F. Archer (Whitton Rectory), Nurse Scrimgeour, and the children of Whitton School. The coffin, of polished elm with brass fittings, bore on the breastplate the inscription: “Corpl. Percy William Foster, Australian Imperial Force, died October 22nd, aged 29 years.” The funeral arrangements were carried out by Messrs. Hastings and Son.

 

Percy William Foster   by Linda Cartmill – Percy’s Great Niece.

 

Percy Foster, the second eldest of a family of ten children, was a second generation Australian in the newly opened farming country of northern New South Wales. His grandparents had all emigrated to Australia in the mid 1800s – three from Yorkshire and one from Ireland. 

 

Farmer Percy and the other settlers on the Clarence River were true pioneers who had built their farms out of the virgin bush with little access to hospitals or any of the trappings of towns and ‘civilisation’.  In fact, by 1916, three of Percy’s nine siblings had already died.

 

Then came 1917 – a bad year for the Fosters.   In March of that year, 14 year old brother Ernest was crushed under a dray only a mile from home; on October 17th, Percy’s father suffered a stroke and died; and three days later on October 22nd, Percy died in Ipswich’s East Suffolk Hospital, of wounds received at Passchendaele.  It was not yet two years since he had enlisted.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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