The AIF Project

Robert Samuel FOSTER

Regimental number3079
Place of birthKingstown, Co. Dublin, Ireland
SchoolHibernian marine School, Dublin, Ireland
Age on arrival in Australia23
ReligionChurch of England
OccupationSalesman
AddressMeberrie Station, Murchison via Yalgo, Western Australia
Marital statusMarried
Age at embarkation29
Height5' 6.5"
Weight144 lbs
Next of kinWife, Mrs E K Foster, Meberrie Station, Murchison via Yalgo, Western Australia
Previous military serviceNil
Enlistment date12 July 1915
Date of enlistment from Nominal Roll2 July 1915
Place of enlistmentPerth, Western Australia
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name16th Battalion, 10th Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/33/3
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Fremantle, Western Australia, on board HMAT A32 Themistocles on 13 October 1915
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll48th Battalion
FateKilled in Action 6 August 1916
Place of death or woundingPozieres, Somme Sector, France
Age at death30.2
Age at death from cemetery records30
Place of burialNo known grave
Commemoration detailsAustralian National Memorial, Villers-Bretonneux, France

Villers-Bretonneux is a village about 15 km east of Amiens. The Memorial stands on the high ground ('Hill 104') behind the Villers-Bretonneux Military Cemetery, Fouilloy, which is about 2 km north of Villers-Bretonneux on the east side of the road to Fouilloy.

The Australian National Memorial, Villers-Bretonneux is approached through the Military Cemetery, at the end of which is an open grass lawn which leads into a three-sided court. The two pavilions on the left and right are linked by the north and south walls to the back (east) wall, from which rises the focal point of the Memorial, a 105 foot tall tower, of fine ashlar. A staircase leads to an observation platform, 64 feet above the ground, from which further staircases lead to an observation room. This room contains a circular stone tablet with bronze pointers indicating the Somme villages whose names have become synonymous with battles of the Great War; other battle fields in France and Belgium in which Australians fought; and far beyond, Gallipoli and Canberra.

On the three walls, which are faced with Portland stone, are the names of 10,885 Australians who were killed in France and who have no known grave. The 'blocking course' above them bears the names of the Australian Battle Honours.

After the war an appeal in Australia raised £22,700, of which £12,500 came from Victorian school children, with the request that the majority of the funds be used to build a new school in Villers-Bretonneux. The boys' school opened in May 1927, and contains an inscription stating that the school was the gift of Victorian schoolchildren, twelve hundred of whose fathers are buried in the Villers-Bretonneux cemetery, with the names of many more recorded on the Memorial. Villers-Bretonneux is now twinned with Robinvale, Victoria, which has in its main square a memorial to the links between the two towns.

Panel number, Roll of Honour,
  Australian War Memorial
145
Miscellaneous information from
  cemetery records
Parents: Isaac and Martha FOSTER; husband of E. FOSTER, 'Terau', Wentworth Street, Cottesloe, Western Australia
Other details

War service: Egypt, Western Front

Embarked Adelaide on HMAT Ballarat, 14 September 1915. Taken on strength, 9th Reinforcements, 16th Bn, Ismailia, 5 February 1916; transferred to 48th Bn and taken on strength, Tel-el-Kebir, 3 March 1916.

Temporary promotion to Corporal confirmed, 9 March 1916; temporarily promoted L/Sergeant, 3 May 1916; promoted Sergeant, 28 May 1916.

Embarked Alexandria on HMT 'Caledonia' to join the British Expeditionary Force, 2 June 1916; disembarked Marseilles, 9 June 1916.

Killed in action, France, 6 August 1916.

Medals: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal.
SourcesNAA: B2455, FOSTER Robert Samuel

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