Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthJuly 12, 1894
Place of BirthKenora, Ontario
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinAnnie Foster, Mother, Kenora, Ontario
Trade / CallingGasoline Engineer
Service Details
Regimental Number198937
Service Record Link to Service Record
Battalion16th Battalion
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Infantry
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Address at EnlistmentKenora, Ontario
Date of EnlistmentFebruary 14, 1916
Age at Enlistment21
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathOctober 2, 1970
Age at Death76
Buried AtLake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora, Ontario

Foster, Henry Fester (Harry)

Henry Fester Foster (known as Harry) was born on 12 July 1894 in Rat Portage (Kenora), Ontario.  His parents were Edward John Foster and Annie Hayward. One of ten children, Harry’s siblings included:  Walter (b. 1884), Edward (b. 1886), William (b. 1888), Herbert (b. 1890), Maud (b. 1893), Percy (b. 1896), Charles (b. 1897), Gordon (b. 1901) and Ralph.

With WW1 raging in Europe, Harry enlisted on 14 February 1916 in Kenora. In May 1916 he left to join the 94th Battalion in Port Arthur.  After a short period of training his unit embarked for England aboard the S.S. Olympic on 28 June 1916.  When they arrived Harry was transferred to the 17th Reserve Battalion.  He fractured his ankle while playing ball on 26 July 1916 and was hospitalized until the 20 September.  Harry was taken on strength by the 16th Battalion (Canadian Scottish) in France on 13 November 1916.  The 16th Battalion took part in all the major engagements of the Canadian corps, including the battles of Ypres, the Somme, Vimy Ridge and Passchendaele. On 8 November 1917 Harry received a shrapnel wound to his lower hip.  Here is part of that day’s entry in the 16th Battalion’s War Diary:

Our artillery opened barrage fire at 3:00 pm and continued until 5:00 pm.  This resulted in determined retaliation and our front line, support trenches and Headquarters were heavily shelled.  A shell struck a funk hole in which No. 1 Company Headquarters were located.  Great difficulty was experienced in getting out the wounded owing to the condition of the road. The shelling has been and continues to be so heavy in the area it is impossible to bury all the dead.  Casualties: 3 officers killed; 1 officer wounded; 11 O.R.’s killed; 38 O.R.’s wounded; 1 O.R. missing.  

Harry was hospitalized until 18th December 1917 when he was discharged to Reinforcements in Etaples. In 1918 Harry spent 4 months (12 February to 21 June) in hospital in France being treated for an infestion.  On 1 October 1918 he was promoted to Corporal in the field.  He continued to serve until 22 February 1919 when he proceeded to England.  On 20 April 1919 Harry was struck off strength to Canada.  His official discharge due to demobilization was on 11 May 1919 in Port Arthur.

After the war, Harry returned to Kenora and on 13 November 1920 he married Angela Neniska.  They had seven children: Mary (married Peter Momotiuk), Helen (married Ted Miclash), Ruby (m. Mr. Frey), Diane (married Dennis Belair), Max (married Blanche Gagnon), Cecil (married Cathy Markham), and Harry Jr. (married Verna Wallin and after her death Shirlie Green).

Harry and his family built Crow Rock Muskie Camp which he sold in the 1950’s. From this time on he worked from home, guiding on the Lake of the Woods until his retirement in 1969.

Harry passed away on 2 October 1970 in Kenora and is buried in Lake of the Woods Cemetery.

Harry’s brother, Percy, also served in WW1.

Foster-Henry-Fester-2 Foster-Henry-Fester-3 Foster-Henry-Fester-4 Foster-Henry-Fester-5 Foster-Henry-Fester-6 Foster-Henry-Fester-7 Foster-Henry-Fester-Harry-8

Photograph of Harry provided by his daughter Diane Belair.





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