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Claude Edward FOSTER (1876-1952)

Biographical Details

Lieutenant-Colonel Claude Edward Foster (1864-1915) was Cyril Sladden’s Commanding Officer in the 9th Battalion, Worcestershire Regiment, for just over two months.  Lieutenant-Colonel Foster was in command of the battalion from August 1915 until being replaced at the beginning of November because of illness.

Claude Foster was born on 1st August 1876 in Mussourie, Himalaya, India, the eldest son of Edward William Perceval Foster and his wife, Annie (née Strachen).  He was baptised at Patna, Bengal, on 22nd February 1877.

Claude married Rosita Cerda Cornwell on 11th December 1907 in Manhattan, New York.  They had two daughters, Cynthia and Alice.

Claude was a professional soldier who was commissioned into the King’s Own Royal Lancashire Regiment.  In August 1915, Claude was transferred to be in command of the 9th Battalion Worcestershire Regiment, following the death of their Commanding Officer on 10th August at Gallipoli.  The entry in the battalion diary for 28th August reads:  “Major C E Foster, 6th Own Royal Lancs Regt, took over command of the Battalion.  Colonel Herbert and Captain Ennis left.”

In the aftermath of the slaughter that had taken place at Sari Bair, the battalion had had to regroup.  Captain Gibbon had taken over briefly as Commanding Officer on 11th August until he was wounded the next day.  On 14th August the battalion was amalgamated with the 7th Gloucestershire Regiment under Captain and Adjutant R Wilkinson.  The regimental diary entry for 25th August said:  “The Battalion was detached from the 7 Gloucs Rgt and reorganised under the command of Colonel Herbert, Maori Battalion, who brought his own Adjutant.”  Thus it was a much reduced battalion that Major Foster arrived to take charge of.

It is probable that Cyril Sladden did not actually meet Foster as, for the time of his tenure of the post, Cyril was either in hospital in Malta, in Alexandria, or at base camp on Lemnos.

The battalion diary of 12th October noted that Colonel Foster had returned to his own unit and the battalion was now under the command of Major Vaughan.  This was just for a short time, as he returned the following week to take command.  However, his stay on the Gallipoli peninsula was to be short-lived.  The battalion diary of 7th November, whilst at Sulajik, stated: “Temporary Lieutenant-Colonel C E Foster, King’s Own Regiment, was evacuated sick.  Major W F O Faviell took over command of the battalion.”

Lieutenant-Colonel Foster later transferred to the King’s African Rifles.  His war-time medals were sent c/o Standard Bank, Eldoret, Kenya.

Claude Foster died on 30th August 1952 at the Maia Carberry Nursing Home, Nairobi; he had been living at Westwood Park Hotel, Ngong, Nairobi.

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