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John Francis Foster

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John Francis Foster (1867-1899)

1899 Obituary [1]

JOHN FRANCIS FOSTER, born at Ventry, Co. Kerry, on the 4th August, 1867, was the eldest son of the Rev. Nicholas Foster, M.A., Rector of St. Mary’s, Belfast.

In 1884 he became an apprentice in the Locomotive Works of the Great Southern and Western Railway of Ireland, at Inchicore, where he remained for three years, during which time he passed with distinction the engineering examinations of the Royal University of Ireland.

He was then employed on the staff of the Arterial Drainage Department in the survey of the River Barrow, and subsequently acted as inspector of the mains for Charters Tower Waterworks, Queensland, under Mr. James Price.

He was also employed by the Great Southern and Western Railway to inspect ironwork for several large bridges. He was associated with various light railways which were constructed in Co. Donegal, and he assisted in the preparation of contract plans for Wicklow Harbour for Alfred D. Price. During the last few years he assisted J. H. H. Swiney in the preparation of schemes for water supply and sewerage in the North of Ireland.

In addition to his engineering work, Mr. Foster held a commission as Captain on the staff of the Donegal Artillery. He acted as Gunnery Instructor, and was well known on the ranges as a marksman. On being appointed Assistant Surveyor in the Public Works Department of the Straits Settlements he resigned his commission; but took it up again at the request of the War Office, his record being such as to secure his being specially retained on the active list.

Mr. Foster arrived at Singapore on the 2nd March, 1899, to take up 11% new appointment. He was about to proceed to his station at Malacca, but on the 16th March, while handling his gun, the charge exploded, killing him instantly. Mr. Foster was a man of untiring energy, his work was well done, he was accurate and quick, and those associated with him always felt confidence in him. He was ever ready to help juniors in their work. Both professionally and socially he won for himself the esteem and affection of those with whom he came in contact. His straightforward and cheerful manner, combined with a thoroughly unselfish disposition, was most attractive, and will long be remembered by his friends.

Mr. Foster was elected an Associate Member of the Institution on the 7th March, 1893,

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