|Date of Birth||December 1, 1884|
|Place of Birth||Kinglass, Enniskillen, County Fermanagh|
|Next of Kin||James Foster, father, Maken PO, Enniskillen, Ireland|
|Trade / Calling||Grocer|
|Service Record||Link to Service Record|
|Battalion||34th Fort Garry Horse|
|Force||Canadian Expeditionary Force|
|Enlisted / Conscripted||Conscripted|
|Place of Enlistment||Winnipeg, Manitoba|
|Address at Enlistment||General Delivery, Winnipeg, Manitoba|
|Date of Enlistment||April 1, 1918|
|Age at Enlistment||33|
|Theatre of Service||Canada|
|Prisoner of War||No|
|Date of Death||August 6, 1958|
|Age at Death||73|
|Buried At||Lake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora, Ontario|
Although a birth record was not found, by most accounts Robert Foster was born on 1 December 1884 in the Kinglass area of Enniskillen, County Fermanagh in Northern Ireland where his family farmed. His parents James Foster and Rebecca Blair were both from the area, marrying in 1875. Children born to the couple were Mary Jane (1876), George (1879), Margaret (Maggie) Jane (1883), Robert, Rebecca (abt 1891), and another child, name unknown, that died in infancy or early childhood. By the time of the 1901 census Robert had moved to nearby Fintona, County Tyrone where he was boarding with merchant Thomas Tubman and Thomas’ siblings, and working as a grocer’s assistant. Unlike many in the region, Robert’s father James owned his own farm and by the time of the 1911 Ireland census was able to employ a domestic.
Robert immigrated to Canada in 1911, arriving in Halifax aboard the Megantic on 25 March. He was listed on the passenger list as a grocer clerk on his way to Winnipeg, Manitoba. The 1911 Canada census found Robert living on Kennedy Street in Winnipeg and working as a salesman in a store.
Drafted under the Military Service Act of 1917, Robert had his medical examination in Winnipeg on 6 December 1917 and was called up for service on 1 April 1918. His occupation was given as grocer and his father James back in Ireland as next of kin. First assigned to the 1st Depot Battalion, Manitoba Regiment, a short time later Robert was transferred to the Depot Squadron, 34th Fort Garry Horse, rank of Trooper. During training it was discovered that he had valvular disease of the heart (a mitral heart murmur), and he was reclassified as medical category C, fit for duty in Canada. With the end of the war, Robert was discharged from service on 6 December 1918 in Winnipeg, being in lower category than B.
By the time of the 1921 census Robert had moved to Kenora, Ontario where he ran a grocery and florist shop on Main Street for many years. On 8 November 1921, in Winnipeg, he married widow A’Vieva Tuller Reed. According to the marriage record, A’vieva was born in Mexico, the daughter of Joseph Lorenza and A’Vieva Gonzala. Her later obituary gave her date and place of birth as 5 February 1898 in the United States. Robert was a member of Knox United Church and the Lake of the Woods Masonic Lodge in Kenora.
Robert died on 6 August 1958 in St Joseph’s Hospital in Kenora. He was predeceased by A’Vieva on 30 April 1956. At the time of his death he was survived by one sister back in Ireland. Robert and A’Vieva are interred in the Lake of the Woods Cemetery in Kenora.
By Judy Stockham