Foster, Joseph Gerald

Foster, Joseph Gerald (Gerald)

Third Engineer Officer

SS Dunaff Head (Belfast), Merchant Navy

Died as a result of enemy action on Saturday 8 March 1941 (aged 30)

No known grave


Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Tower Hill Memorial, London, England (Panel 36)

Glencraig Parish Church of Ireland Church (Holy Trinity)

Royal Belfast Academical Institution (RBAI)

Family grave headstone in Bangor Cemetery, Newtownards Road, Bangor


Joseph Gerald Foster was born on 6 October 1910 at 13 Rugby Parade, Belfast and he was a son of James Scott Foster and Helen Louise Foster (nee Spratt) who later lived in Ivydene, Cable Road, Whitehead, at 31 Godfrey Avenue, Ballyholme, Bangor and in Church Road, Helen’s Bay.  James Scott Foster worked as a clerk and bookkeeper and he and Helen Louise Spratt were married on 13 December 1906 in St. Columba’s Church of Ireland Church, Knock, Belfast.  James Scott Foster from 31 Elaine Street, Belfast was a son of Joseph Foster, a railway worker.  Helen Louise Spratt from Knock, Belfast was a daughter of Joseph Spratt, a contractor.

Joseph Gerald Foster attended the Royal Belfast Academical Institution (RBAI) from 1920 until 1926.  During the Second World War he served in the Merchant Navy aboard the SS Dunaff Head and in maritime records it is recorded that he was 6 feet 1 inch tall with brown eyes and fair hair.

The SS Dunaff Head was built in 1918 by Workman, Clark and Company Ltd., Belfast and was owned by the Ulster Steamship Company.  At 1.09 am on 8 March 1941 the SS Dunaff Head was on route from Glasgow to St. John, New Brunswick in ballast in Convoy OB-293 when she was torpedoed and sunk by the German submarine U-A south of Iceland.

Third Engineer Officer Joseph Gerald Foster (aged 30) was one of the five crew members who were lost. The master, 34 crew members and four gunners were picked up by HMS Verity and landed at Loch Ewe on the northwest coast of Scotland.

Third Engineer Officer Joseph Gerald Foster is commemorated on the Tower Hill Memorial in London; in Glencraig Parish Church of Ireland Church (Holy Trinity); in RBAI and on the family grave headstone in Bangor Cemetery, Newtownards Road, Bangor.  Gerald’s mother died on 20 April 1960 and his father died on 16 November 1965.  His sister Muriel is also commemorated on the family grave headstone. Muriel was born on 20 November 1907 at 13 Rugby Parade, Belfast; she married Dr Hugh Wallace OBE; she died on 18 November 2001 (aged 93).