Foster, Leopold

I started researching Leopold Foster after finding his Commonwealth War Grave in Hawarden Cemetery, I cannot find him on any local War Memorial and it is a mystery why he has a Commonwealth War Grave Commission Gravestone as he died in 1948 and the criteria for being included in their database was if the Serviceman or woman died in WW2 from the 3rd September 1939 to the 31st December 1947.   However he is remembered on the Armed Forces Memorial –  – The online Roll of Honour contains the names of members of the Armed Forces who died in military service, on or after 1 January 1948 (and Palestine 1945-47), who are commemorated on the official single service rolls of honour.

I believe that Leopold Foster was born in the June Quarter of 1903 (W. Derby Vol.  8b Page 520), the son of possibly Samuel & Mary Foster.  I found a marriage in the December quarter of 1896 of a Samuel Foster & Mary O’Donnell (Liverpool Vol.  8b Page 312).   The certificate would have to be purchased to confirm or deny.

We see Mary Foster, Leopold and Bernard his brother on the 1911 census.  This was the 1st Census that the Householder filled in and it is incorrect, as the relationship of all the household members is to the Head of the Household and as you can see Ann O’DONNELL wasn’t correct when Anne ODONNELL stated that Victor & Leopold were her sons, on the night of the census on the 2nd April 1911.

They were living at 13, Marvin Street, Kensington, Liverpool  in 4 rooms.   The head of the household was Ann O’Donnell, 62, a widow who tells us that she had been married 40 years and 11 children had been born to her, but sadly 6 of these children had died, this information had been crossed off by the Enumerator as she was a widow, but this gives us more clues.  She also tells us that she was a Charwoman and had been deaf for 3 years, and all the household had been born in Liverpool.

Next in the household was Mary Foster, her daughter, 34 and a Charwoman, Mary tells us that she had been married 15 years, 5 children had been born to her and sadly 3 had died.

The next in the household was Margaret Sampson, 30, Ann’s daughter, who tells us that she had been married 9 years and 3 children had been born to her, all still living.

Another daughter, Louise O’Donnell, was 28 and single, she tells us that she had 1 child, but this was crossed out by the Enumerator, she was an Office Cleaner.

Two more daughters were also there, Ann & Isabella O’Donnell, 24, single and a Kitchen Maid and 22, single and a Tailoress, respectively.

There was a Boarder, Emily Harrison, 28 and single and a Kitchen Maid.   The remaining 3 occupants were Victor Foster, 10 and Leopold Foster, 8, both referred to as “Son” and both at the Sacred Heart School and Eileen O’Donnell age 3, no relationship was entered, was she Louise’s child, mentioned above?

The next time we see Leopold was on his Confirmation at age 9 at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church, which is close to the Royal Liverpool University Hospital, on the 2nd June 1912.

I found Mary & the boys on the Liverpool, England, Electoral Registers, 1832-1970, still living at 13, Marvin Street, Low Hill Ward Liverpool in 1925, one will probably be the Spring of that year and the other one the Autumn of the same year, but I don’t know which is which, so apologies for that:-

13, Marvin Street, Low Hill Ward.

2240 O  O  FOSTER, Mary

2241  O  O HUGHES, Bella

2242  O  O O’DONNELL, Ann

2243  R   –  FOSTER, Victor Samuel

2244  R  –  FOSTER, Leopold

2245  R  –  HUGHES, Alexander


2247 O  O  FOSTER, Mary

2248  O  O O’DONNELL, Ann

2249  R   –  FOSTER, Victor Samuel

2250  R  –  FOSTER, Leopold

I believe that Leopold married in the June quarter of 1934 to Ethel M. Webster (Liverpool  Vol. 8b, Page 444) but this would have to be purchased to confirm or deny.

I found them living at 8, Gloucester Place, Gloucester Square, Liverpool on the Liverpool, England, Electoral Registers, 1832-1970.   This was dated 1939 – 1940.

1074  Rw  Ow  FOSTER. Ethel May

1075 NM  D  aFOSTER (sic), Leopold

*Does a before the name signify that he was a Serviceman or something else?

I found Leopold’s R.A.F. Service Records, which can be seen below, and he enlisted on the 1st December 1927, he was, according to that, 24 years and 246/365 days old, born on the 31st March 1903.   This tells us that Leopold was a Coppersmith with Cammell Laird’s Birkenhead form May 1927 to May 1927, so I think that perhaps he tried it and decided to do something else with his life and enlisted in the R.A.F.  Just my speculation.   This source also tells us that his next of kin was Mrs. M. Foster, 13. Marvin Street, Kensington, Liverpool , his Mother.   Also on this source was a description of Leopold, he was 5 feet 3 inches in height, his hair was brown, eyes brown and complexion fresh.   He had Vaccination marks on his left arm, he had a slight deformity on the tip of his right index finger and a scar above his left nipple.

The Dundee Courier 13th January 1932 tells us that Leopold was involved in an accident in Scotland, not his fault, please see the cutting form the Dundee Courier below.  (Thanks to Peter Davies form  RAF Commands Forum).

Leopold was already in the R.A.F. as the newspaper cutting tells us, but not with Ethel as he is not on the National Register with Ethel May when it was taken on the 29th September 1939.

Ethel May was living with a family at 4 Harwd (Hawarden?) Road, Wrexham, Denbighshire.

Head of the household was John A. McAuliffe, whose birth date is given as the 24th October 1920 and he is a Skilled Workman Post Office Engine Dept Telephones & Telegraph Fitter and a widower, also in the household was Hilda McAuliffe, born on the 1st October 1890, she is a married woman and on the National Register, as she hasn’t a job, she is described as doing “Unpaid Domestic Duties.”   There is an Elizabeth Howard, single and born on the 7th October 1859, also doing “Unpaid Domestic Duties.”

Almost last there is Ethel May Foster, born on the 4th July 1908 and married also doing “Unpaid Domestic Duties.”    This source tells us that Ethel was to marry a gentleman named Corrie* in 1975.   There is one closed or redacted record***.

* It looks from this that Ethel May remarried in the December quarter of 1975 to a gentleman named George S. CORRIE.  (LIVERPOOL**  Vol. 36           Page 686)

**The district LIVERPOOL spans the boundaries of the counties of Lancashire and Merseyside;  After 1974 this was classed as Merseyside.)

*** For individual people, records remain closed for a century after their birth (the 100-year rule), unless it can be proven that they passed away before this milestone.

There must be more service records, but I haven’t been able to find them, any help to make sure that Leopold will not be forgotten as he was still in the R.A.F. when he died, I am presuming.

I found a death certificate for a Leopold Foster age 45 in the December quarter of 1948, his death registered in Hawarden, meaning he must have died there, but why he died, would be on his death certificate and that would have to be purchased to find out.

I would like to know why Leopold was to be buried in Hawarden in 1948 and, if my research is correct Ethel wanted to be buried with Leopold, she must never have stopped loving him.

I asked RAF Commands Forum for help   and Malcolm, a Senior Member, kindly told me that Leopold had been stationed at Sealand Camp and Servicemen who died after the war ended and are not on the CWGC database they are remembered by their names being on the Armed Forces Website which tell us that he is not inscribed on the Air Forces Memorial* but he is included on the Roll of Honour.      *Auboretum website   Many thanks to Malcolm. (see below)


The online Roll of Honour contains the names of members of the Armed Forces who died in military service, on or after 1 January 1948 (and Palestine 1945-47), who are commemorated on the official single service rolls of honour.   (There is a clerical error on the Roll of Honour, it gives Leopold’s date of birth as the 31st March 2003 and not the 31st March 1903.    I will try and get it corrected.)



Back to top