FOSTER, Herbert, 35540, Gunner.
No 2 Depot, Royal Field Artillery.
He was born in 1879 at Darlaston the son of Joseph and Mary Foster.
He married Betsy Prudence Blackburn? on the 2nd June 1906 at All Saints, Moxley.
Herbert’s war record is unusual if not unique; he enlisted twice and was discharged twice.
He first enlisted on the 13th October 1914 at Darlaston and two days later he was in Newhaven, Sussex where he joined No 1 depot Royal Garrison Artillery. Though from his papers it seems that he was originally destined for the South Staffordshire Regiment, but this is crossed through.
Despite being passed as fit for General Service by Dr Lockhart Lowe at Darlaston his first period of Army life lasted just 14 days.
He was discovered to be suffering from decayed teeth and dyspepsia and he was deemed;
“Not being likely to become an efficient soldier.”
He was discharged on the 26th October 1914.
This did not put him off the idea of serving his country; he enlisted, for a second time, at Darlaston on the 9th July 1915. This time it was he was destined for the Royal Field Artillery.
He seems to have been engaged in various Depots’ around England and from the 23rd June 1916 he was “Employed in Munitions”. He does not seem to have served abroad.
He was discharged* due to sickness and awarded a Silver War Badge.
He died on the 23rd February 1917, aged 37.
He was buried in Plot R. 194. James Bridge Cemetery, Darlaston on the 29th February 1917.
His name is not on any of the Plaques but was added very recently and carved into the stone below the 1917 Plaque.
I have as yet been unable to find any medals for Herbert, this is possible if he never served abroard.
At the time of the 1911 census the family was living at 8, Heathfield Lane, Darlaston.
Herbert Foster. H (32) Riveter at Boiler yard.
Betsy Prudence Foster. W (28)
Herbert Foster. S (4y 10m)
Mary Foster. D (9m)
William Franklin. Visitor (32)
They later had Doris in 1912 and Sarah Ann in 1914.
At both times he enlisted their address was 22, Foundry St, Darlaston.
*Both his Pension and Silver War Badge records show his date of discharge as 11th March 1917 though this is almost three weeks after his death.
It could be that he was seen by the Army Doctor who recommended a discharge but he died before this could be made official.