Edward William (Foxy) FOSTER

FOSTER, Edward William

Service Number: 23599
Enlisted: 20 September 1939, Melbourne, Victoria
Last Rank: Petty Officer
Last Unit: HMAS Warrego (I)
Born: Prospect, South Australia, 13 March 1923
Home Town: Henley Beach , City of Charles Sturt / Henley and Grange, South Australia
Schooling: Christian Brothers School
Occupation: Grazier
Died: Natural causes (cancer), Repat Hospital, Daw Park, South Australia, 20 October 1991, aged 68 years
Cemetery: Centennial Park Cemetery, South Australia
Originally interred at Centennial Park RSL Walls until the death of his wife when both their ashes were spread at sea just off Barcoo Road, West Beach SA
Memorials: Henley Beach Council WW2 Honour Roll and Addendum, Henley Beach Soldiers' Memorial Hall, South Australian Garden of Remembrance
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World War 2 Service

20 Sep 1939: Enlisted Royal Australian Navy, 23599, Melbourne, Victoria
20 Sep 1939: Enlisted Royal Australian Navy, Petty Officer, 23599

Non Warlike Service

24 May 1948: Discharged Royal Australian Navy, Petty Officer, 23599, HMAS Warrego (I)

World War 2 Service

Date unknown: Involvement

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Biography contributed by Carol Foster

Edward (Dad) earned his nickname of Foxy because of the scrapes he got into and out of without being penalised, where someone else would have been charged with the offence.

He had three stirpes which when I queried what they were for he said "undetected crime". I remember saying 'Wow that's good not doing any crimes' He responded with ' It didn't mean that I did not commit a crime just that I didn't get caught"

He enlistd a week after war started at the age of 16 and a half years and by December he was in Alexandria. On his 17th birthday in March 1940 his ship was in the Mediterranean and out of ammunition and under attack from 6 German bomders. Bad luck on the German's part and the arrival of the RAF saved them.

He was in the Battle of Matapan and the Evacuation of Greece abd the Battle for Crete. It was during the Battle of Matapan he was serving on a Britsh destroyer because his own ship was in dry dock. The Britsh destoryer was sunk and soon after he was picked up by another British ship, either Greyhound or Griffin he could not remeber which but it made no difference because soon after it too was sunk. This time he was in the sea for hours before being rescued again the 'name of the ship wasn't important' because it too was sunk early the next morning. He and several other drifted in the lifeboat for 5-7 days before being found.

Back on his own ship HMAS Vampire and in company with HMAS Waterhen they were doing whatever destroyers do in wartime when the came under attack from enemy bombers. Waterhen being the closer took full brunt of the attack. The enemy dropped so many bombs around Waterhen she completely disappered from Vampire's view, 'She's gone' Vampire's crew agreed to a man but a few seconds later Waterhen appeared from behind the wall of wall still at full speed and not a mark on her.

Vampire signalled to Waterhen ' Glad you are alright. We thought your were gone'

Waterhen replied ' You should have seen it from our side"

Back in harbour my father was talking to his friend from Waterhen about the incident. HIs friend comment that ' there was so much water on Waterhen it was impossible to tell where Waterhen stopped and the sea started and when she had shed all the excess water the Old Girl leapt up a foot'

Those stories are the tip of the iceberg they are many similar tales to go eith them.

After the war Dad joined the Police Force where he was on the Police motor bikes. He bulit a Defence home in Mitchell Street, East Glenelg, now known as Glengowrie. It was the only home on the street and apart from the racing stables alongside there were very few house until you got over what is now Oaklands Road.

In 1953 he moved to the Lower South East where he worked on South Killanoola Station while he was waiting for a Soldier Settlement property.

This property was in the Coles Spence and one of many in the area that the Government cleared, about 120,000 acres of scrub, for the Solider Settlers

The were no telephones, no houses, no electricity and no roads just tracks through the scrub. Dad and Mum lived in a galvanised iron shed as did many others. Having no roads in the summer wasn't too bad but in the winter it was impossible to drive so the vehicle was left on a road 3 miles away and they brought the groceries on to the property in a wheelbarrow.

It was while he was living he started to suffer severe stomach pains which lasted for almost ten years. The Pyschiatrists told him it was due to 'war neuoris'. Eventually he had one of these attacks while in hospital and was operated on immediately. The 'war neurosis' turned out to be a stomach tumour the size of a walnut. While recovering from the operation he suffered from golden Staf followed by a massive heart after which he was given the last rites.

He continued through the remainder with of his life with no more evidence of the cancer, despite being continuely tested, until mid 1991  when it was discovered he had prostrate cancer. Further tests showed that it had gone to his bones and was given 6-12 months to live. He lasted 6 weeks.

Following his death he was cremated and his ashes placed in the RSL Walls at Centennial until his wife died in 2005 when they were removed and both sets of ashes were spread off Barcoo Road, West Beach. Barcoo Road was named after HMAS Barcoo which was beached after after a bad storm and Dad had also served on the HMAS Barcoo during his Naval carreer.