838506 Pte. Robert Wellington Foster was born on March 16th, 1897, in Wiarton, Ontario. Robert was living in Walters Falls, working as a farm labourer when hostilities broke out in 1914.

Attesting to the 147th (Grey) Battalion on January 6th, 1916, his brother, William Earl Foster (838943), also attested to the 147th the following month. Robert was probably billeted in Meaford for the remainder of the winter where he would have undergone rudimentary training with the Company of men located there.

In the spring all the outlying Companies mustered, in Owen Sound, for the soldiers' final administration prior to leaving for Camp Niagara in May of 1916. As the conditions in the Camp were wanting the unit moved to the new training facility of Camp Borden in late June.

While at Camp Borden, Robert was awarded punishment of 3 days confinement to base and loss of 9 days pay for some unspecified offence. Soon afterward he forfeited another days' pay for being absent without authority. In September the unit received their orders to proceed overseas, but due to an outbreak of diphtheria they were detained in Amherst, Nova Scotia, for over a month. The unit finally sailed for Great Britain, on November 14th 1916.

On January 1st, 1917, the 147th Battalion ceased to exist when it became the nucleus for the 8th Reserve Battalion, whose task it was to supply reinforcements to the 58th Battalion and the 4th C.M.R. Robert was taken on strength of the 4th C.M.R. on March 7th, 1917, while his brother William would end up serving with the 58th Battalion.

Upon arrival to the 4th C.M.R., Robert was assigned to the 3rd Engineer Battalion during the Battle of Vimy Ridge, returning to the unit on April 12th. Serving with the unit through the summer, Robert was gassed in front of the village of Mericourt on September 9th. Medically evacuated he did not return to the unit until February 2nd, 1918.

In March he was granted 14 days leave returning to the unit 3 days late, a common occurrence given the times. During the German Spring offensive of 1918, the 4th C.M.R. was in the area of Hill 70 and Loos. In the early hours of April 22nd, 1918, the 4th C.M.R. conducted a raid in force, to gather information on the German units to their front. In the confusion of the raid Robert went missing. German sources would later report that he had died and his records were annotated that he was presumed to have died on or after April 22, 1918.

Private Robert Wellington Foster's body was never recovered for a proper burial, so his sacrifice is remembered on the Vimy Memorial.

Robert's death, as the death of any son, would have been a traumatic loss for his mother Christina. However it wouldn't be her only loss, for William would die on the first day of the Battle of Amiens, August 8th, 1918 while serving with the 58th Battalion. Christina would lose a third son, Wilmer, during WWII on D-Day + 1; June 7th, 1944, during the Battle of Normandy.

Credit and thanks for this biography go to George Auer.