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Foster, William Henry - AM

Rank : Private

Army Number : 4854105

Unit : 1st Bn

Biography :

'Bill' Foster enlisted into The Leicestershire Regiment at Wolverhampton on 21.5.1926, on a Regular Engagement of 7 years with the Colours and 5 on the Reserve. Occupation on enlistment was moulder. After 18 months at the Depot, he joined 1st Bn in India on 4.11.1927, and served in it at Kamptee, Nagpur, Ambala and Multan, latterly in D (Machine Gun) Company. On 19.6.1931 he was commended by the Area Commander for 'his gallant conduct when attempting to save the life of a comrade during the forest fire at Sabathu, Simla Hills, India on June 11th, 1931'. The comrade whom Foster rescued was Private A.L. Smith, who died of his injuries on the night of the forest fire in the Simla Hills. For that gallant conduct Foster was subsequently awarded the Albert Medal (L.G. 30.10.1931), with which he was presented by the Commander-in-Chief India, at a Garrison Parade held at Jullunder on 15.3.1932. Foster concluded his Colour service with 1st Bn on 14.12.1933, when he returned home and joined the Reserves on 29.12.1933.
After 5½ years in the Reserves and with the Second World War imminent, Foster was mobilised on 1.9.1939 and twelve days later he set out for France in the British Expeditionary Force attached to a unit which his Record of Service describes (unclearly) as ‘58 & 76 L.A. Sec’. He was posted back to England on 18.11.1939, and served in various units for the next five months. He was discharged from the Army on 30.4.1940 under King’s Regulations 383 (xvi)(b) as ‘ceasing to fulfil Army physical requirements. Physically unfit for any form of Army service’.
He died in 1964, aged 58 years.

His three medals are in the collection of the Leicester Arts and Museum Service and are displayed in the Regimental Museum. His Regular Army Certificate of Service (AF B108) covering the periods 1926-33 and 1939-40, his Soldier’s Service Book (A B 64), and 23 uncaptioned photographs are held at the Record Office for Leicester, Leicestershire & Rutland.

A paper file on Foster is held in The National Archives at Kew (File No. HO 45/14791), which contains paperwork including the Board on Inquiry into the death of Private Smith, the details contained in which led to the award to William Foster of the Albert Medal.

An extensive article on Foster was published in The Green Tiger regimental journal in Spring 2009, and a follow-up article in Spring 2016.

Date of Birth : 12.10.1906

Place of Birth : Willenhall, Staffordshire

Date of Death : Dec 1964

Place of Death : West Bromwich

Civil Occupation : moulder

Period of Service : 1926-33; 1939-40

Conflicts : WW2

Places Served : England, India, France

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