838279 Pte. William Foster was born in Holland Township, Ontario, on February 18th, 1888. Married, he and Ethel had a son, Harold, and he was working as a labourer when hostilities broke out. He joined the 31st Regiment, the local militia unit, and undergoing training in Owen Sound, William was billeted in the Royal Hotel and was then part of two independent infantry companies being raised for overseas service by the 31st.

With the authorization of the 147th (Grey) Battalion the men of the two new companies were ordered assigned to the new Battalion. William attested to the new unit on December 29th, 1916.

Billeted locally over the winter the unit left for training at Camp Niagara in the spring of 1916. As the conditions in the Camp were wanting the unit moved to the new training facility of Camp Borden in late June. 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. William was taken on strength of the 4th C.M.R. on March 7th, 1917, in the buildup for the Battle of Arras, which saw the Canadian Corps storm Vimy Ridge on April 9th, 1917.

It may have been the stress of serving at the front, but whatever the reason, William developed chronic gastritis and stomach ulcers that led to a series of hospitalizations beginning in August 1917. Being found medically unfit for military service William set sail for Canada aboard the H.S. Neuralia on June 3rd, 1918, and would was discharged on November 21st, 1918.

Private William Foster passed away on September 10th, 1930; his death was considered a consequence of his military service.

Credit and thanks for this biography go to George Auer.