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3/401 Lance Corporal Herbert Foster - New Zealand Medical Corp
 
Herbert Foster was born, 13th January 1893, in Leeds, England. He was employed as an electrician at the General Post Office, Leeds prior to immigrating to New Zealand.[i] 
 
In 1914 Herbert was employed as an electrician at the Porirua Mental Hospital and also played for the Porirua Hospital Association (soccer) Team.
 
On the 14th October 1914 Herbert with eight of his Hospital colleague enlisted in the New Zealand Medical Corps.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Trentham Military Camp, Wellington, New Zealand
 
On 21st October 1914, 3/401 Private Foster entered Trentham Camp as a member of the Field Ambulance, NZMC and
by the end of the month had been promoted through the ranks to Sergeant Foster. The 2nd Reinforcements, Ambulance sailed from New Zealand on 14th December 1914 for Egypt to join the Main Body of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force.
 
On arrival in Egypt, as was routine, Sergeant Foster reverted to the rank of Private. Private Foster was not in the initial landings at Gallipoli, as he had been admitted to hospital, but on 28th May 1915 he rejoined the Field Ambulance in the Dardanelles.
 
3/401 Private Foster was evacuated from Gallipoli on the Hospital Ship Clan MacGillivray and admitted on 13th July 1915
to hospital in Malta. Private Foster, suffering from a gunshot wound to the abdomen remained in Malta for a month before being moved to an English hospital to continue treatment.  On 17th November 1915 Private Foster had recovered sufficiently to be granted leave then returned to the New Zealand Convalescent Hospital where he was employed, presumably on light duties, as a clerk.
 
Promoted to Lance Corporal in July 1916 at the NZ Convalescent Hospital, there are no medical board reports on file but Lance Corporal Foster was returned to New Zealand in September 1916 and discharged, on 22 February 1917, as
‘being no longer physically fit for war service on account of illness contracted while on active service.’
 
Herbert Foster’s intended address was c/- Mental Hospital where he may have been employed again as an electrician. In February 1919 Herbert Foster was allowed to travel back to England ‘as an invalid’ on the New Zealand Hospital Ship Marama. Herbert remained in England for a number of years his medals were sent to him, in 1924, via Staff Paymaster,
NZ High Commission, London.
 
Herbert Foster returned to New Zealand as in 1928 he married Jean Josephine Bryce Wright in Christchurch. Jean was a nurse[ii] so it is probable that they meet while both worked in one of Christchurch’s hospitals.
 
When Herbert enlisted in the Second World War Jean, as his next of kin, gave her residential address as C/- Coronation Hospital, Christchurch.
 
Herbert Foster died in Christchurch, New Zealand on 14 July 1978.
 
References
Archway Archives New Zealand Military Records: 3/401 Lance Corporal Herbert Foster
Papers Past Online
NZ BDM Online
 
Photos
Postcard Trentham Military Camp 1915: Private Collection
Background ANZAC Landing 1915: Private Collection
 
 
[i] Archway Archives New Zealand: Military Records – 3/401 Lance Corporal Herbert Foster
[ii] Archway Archives New Zealand: Canterbury Health Chief Nurse’s Records 1921 – 1943 Jean Josephine Bryce Wright