Gunner 775139 John Vernon Foster

Killed in Action on Monday, 6th August 1917, age 23.
Buried in Grave II.B.3. at La Clytte Military Cemetery, Heuvelland, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium.

Royal Field Artillery, 235th Brigade, "C" Battery.

Son of John and Eliza Jane Foster, of 60, Strathmore Terrace, Harehills Lane, Leeds. Native of Wednesbury, Staffs.
Born: Wednesbury, Enlisted: Leeds, Resident: Unknown.

First landed France & Flanders, post 31st December 1915.
Medal entitlement: British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives did not survive.

Commemorated on the St. Mark's Memorial.
Commemorated here because he appears on a Tipton memorial.

Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/438361/

Genealogical Data

1901 Census
13 Bexley Terrace, Potternewton, Leeds, Yorkshire.
John Foster (37, Ironmonger's Assistant, born Wednesbury), his wife Eliza Jane (33, born Tipton), and their 2 children: Lilian (12, born Wednesbury), and John Vernon (7, born Wednesbury).

1911 Census
41 Strathmore Drive, Leeds, Yorkshire.
John Foster (47, Wrought Iron Tube Salesman, born Wednesbury), his wife Eliza Jane (43, born Tipton), and their 4 surviving children of 6: Lilian (22, Pattern Card Maker, born Wednesbury), John Vernon (17, Tailor's Cutter born Wednesbury), Olive (7, born Leeds), and Doris (7, born Leeds).

Personal Data

J V Foster is the best fit for 'J Foster' on the St Mark's Church memorial. There is no J Foster recorded as born or resident in Tipton amongst the 174 J Foster's killed in the Great War.

The Foster family moved to Yorkshire before 1901, but in 1891 the family did live in 25 Gospel Oak Road (then New Road), Tipton. It is possible that a relative put John Vernon Foster's name forward for inclusion on the Memorial.

John Foster's number 775139 suggests that he was originally with the West Riding Brigade, as the Numbers 775001 to 780000 were reserved for 245 Brigade. This was redesignated from the Territorial West Riding Brigade in May 1916, and had batteries from Leeds and Bramley so sounds correct for John Foster living in Leeds. The Medal Index Card and Medal Roll for John Foster 775139 shows a John Monroe Foster, this is an error.

After John's death, his outstanding army pay and allowances amounted to £7/9/2d (7 pounds, 9 shillings and 2 pence); this was paid to his mother and sole legatee Eliza J. in November 1917. His War Gratuity was £13/10/0d (13 pounds and 10 shillings), this was also paid to his mother Eliza J. in November 1919. The value of the War Gratuity suggests that John had enlisted in August 1914.

Action resulting in his death

At the time of his death, John belonged to 'C' Battery of 235th Brigade of the Royal Field Artillery, which served as Divisional artillery with 47th (2nd London) Division. In June 1917 the 47th were in action in the Battle of Messines, and from 31st July to 2nd August at the battle of Pilkem Ridge, the opening battle of the Third Battles of Ypres.

John was killed on the 6th August and is buried at La Clytte Military Cemetery, 5 miles south west of Ypres. La Clytte was a Brigade Headquarters at the time and a location for the Artillery Batteries.

Newspaper Cuttings