Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthOctober 26, 1898
Place of BirthKenora, Ontario
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinGeorge Foster (father), Semans, Saskatchewan
Trade / CallingFarm labourer
Service Details
Regimental Number1286575 and 472528
Service Record Link to Service Record
BattalionNo. 12 Service Company
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Army Service Corps
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Date of EnlistmentOctober 27, 1915
Age at Enlistment17
Theatre of ServiceCanada
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathOctober 19, 1977
Age at Death78
Buried AtOcean View Burial Park (cremation), Burnaby, British Columbia

Foster, Edwin Ruthven

Private Edwin Ruthven Foster enlisted twice, in 1915 at age 17 and three years later, at age 20. He served in Canada for about five months.

Edwin was born in Rat Portage, Ontario on 26 October 1898. Both his mother and father, George Foster and Margaret Jane Little, were born in Ontario to Irish parents. George and Margaret were married in Bracebridge, Ontario in 1881 and they had at least eight children. The first four were born in Parry Sound: Mary Esther (1884), Edith Mildred (1886), George (1888, died as an infant) and Viola (1889). By 1891 the family had moved to Rat Portage (now called Kenora), where four more children were born: Gertrude (1891, died at age one), Evelina (1893), George Wallace (1896, died at age 8) and Edwin. Gertrude and George Wallace are both buried in Lake of the Woods Cemetery in Kenora. Edwin’s father worked as a foreman and millwright in a local sawmill. They were still living in Rat Portage in the fall of 1904 but by 1911 they had moved to Saskatchewan and settled in the village of Semans, north of Regina.

Edwin was 15 years old when the war started. He enlisted about a year later, signing up in Saskatoon on 27 October 1915 with the 65th Overseas Battalion. He had just turned 17 but he passed himself off as a year older. His occupation was farm labourer and next of kin was his father George in Semans. Edwin’s medical exam found him fit for service but he was discharged just four weeks later, on 23 November 1915, due to being underage and unlikely to become an efficient soldier.

By the spring of 1918 Edwin and his family were living in Regina and he was training with the militia. He enlisted a second time on 1 November 1918, this time joining No. 12 Canadian Army Service Corps Service Company and giving his age correctly as 20 years old. His occupation was mechanic and chauffeur and next of kin was his mother in Regina. Edwin served for four months and was discharged on demobilization on 1 March 1919 in Regina.

Not a lot is known about Edwin’s life after the war. When the 1921 census was taken he was married, living in Regina with his wife Jean and working as an insurance salesman. Jean was about two years younger than him and born in Saskatchewan. By the mid-1920s Edwin’s father, mother and sisters Evelina and Esther (Mrs. George Nelson Carkner) had moved to Vancouver. His parents passed away in Vancouver, Margaret in 1935, at age 78, and George in October 1941, at age 88. George had been struck by an automobile and he died of his injuries the following day. They are both buried at Ocean View Burial Park in Burnaby. Edwin’s sister Mary Esther Carkner died in 1970 and she’s interred at Forest Lawn Memorial Park.

Edwin passed away at his home in Burnaby on 19 October 1977, a week before his 79th birthday. The informant for his death registration was his wife Mary (née Blanchard). His sister Evelina died in Burnaby just nine days later, on 28 October 1977.

By Becky Johnson


Obituary courtesy of Mike Melen

« Back To Soldier Biographies