Foster, Henry (No. 12770)

Foster, Henry (Harry)

Sergeant

No. 12770, 9th Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles

Killed in action on Saturday 1 July 1916 (aged 45)

No known grave

Commemorated:

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Thiepval Memorial, France (Pier and Face 15 A and 15 B)

Journey of Remembering Belfast Book of Honour

Brother of Rifleman John Foster (No. 5623)

BIOGRAPHY

In the 28 April 1917 edition of the Newtownards Chronicle an article was published under the headline A Patriotic Newtownards Family and therein it was reported that Sarah Jane Foster of 76 James Street, Newtownards had four sons, five grand-sons and four sons-in-law on active service.

Her sons on active service were named as Rifleman John Foster, Rifleman Alexander Foster, Rifleman Thomas Foster and Sergeant Harry Foster.  Two of her sons, John and Harry, were killed in action.

Her sons-in-law on active service were named as Private Thomas Johnston, Lance Corporal John McNeill, Rifleman Joseph Reid and Rifleman Charles Reid.  It was reported that Rifleman Charles Reid served with the 1st Battalion Royal Irish Rifles and was killed in action on 1 July 1916.  Rifleman Charles Reid (No. 6810) was with the 2nd Battalion Royal Irish Rifles when he died on 9 July 1916 and he is commemorated in the Belfast Book of Honour (Page 549).  His wife Margaret was living at 42 Constance Street, Belfast.  Charles Reid and Margaret (Maggie) Foster were married on 27 November 1894 in Second Newtownards Presbyterian Church.

Sarah Jane Foster’s grand-sons who served in the Great War were named as Rifleman John Foster (No. 6234), Rifleman Alex Foster (No. 17652), Rifleman Harry Foster, Private William Foster and Rifleman James Logan.

Harry Foster was the second of Sarah Jane’s two sons to die on active service in the Great War.

Henry (Harry) Foster was born around 1870/1871 and he was a son of George and Sarah Jane Foster.  George Foster worked as a mechanic.

Harry Foster was a Gunner in the Army when he and Annie Gleeson (sometimes Gleason) were married on 11 May 1895 in Fermoy Parish Church of Ireland Church, Co Cork.  Harry Foster was stationed in the Old Barracks, Fermoy and Annie Gleeson from Barrack Hill, Fermoy was a daughter of James Gleeson, a labourer.

In civilian life Harry Foster worked as a labourer, a fireman and a watchman and he and his wife Annie lived in Monkstown and in Belfast at 18 Westland Street and at 128 Canmore Street.

Harry and Annie Foster (nee Gleeson) had at least eleven children:

Henrietta (born 4 August 1899 in Monkstown)

Annie (born 3 November 1901 in Monkstown)

George (born 3.00pm 29 November 1903 in Monkstown)

Sarah Jane (born 3.05pm 29 November 1903 in Monkstown)

Maud (born 26 June 1905 in Monkstown)

Evelyn (born 6 June 1906 in Monkstown)

Florence (born 11 November 1907 at 18 Westland Street, Belfast; died of tubercular meningitis 22 September 1911 at 18 Westland Street, Belfast)

Lily Campbell (born 22 October 1909 at 18 Westland Street, Belfast)

Harry (born 7 February 1911 at 18 Westland Street, Belfast; died of epidemic diarrhoea 14 August 1911 at 18 Westland Street, Belfast)

Harry (born 3 August 1913 at 128 Canmore Street, Belfast)

Florence (born 21 August 1915 at 128 Canmore Street, Belfast)

During the Great War, Sergeant Harry Foster served with the 9th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles in 107th Brigade of the 36th (Ulster) Division and he was 45 when he was killed in action on 1 July 1916 during the Battle of the Somme.

Sergeant Harry Foster has no known grave and he is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial in France and in the Belfast Book of Honour (Pages 198).