31.01.1944 No. 183 Squadron Typhoon Ib JP963 F/O. Richard N. Foster
Date: 31st January 1944
Unit: No. 183 Squadron (Gold Coast)
Type: Typhoon Ib
Serial: JP963 (Some records show it was MM964) (1)
Base: RAF Harrowbeer / Predannack.
Location: Kerlin-Bastard Airfield, France
Pilot: F/O. Richard Norman Foster 149358 RAFVR Age 21. Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
During January 1944 up to his death he took part in the following operations:
3rd January 1944 - Shipping recce to Ushant, Coulet, Ile Verge, flying JR209 Up at 16.00 hrs. Down 17.15 hrs. 4 Aircraft taking part.
Left: F/O. Richard Norman Foster Right: Eunice Audrey Jay, girlfriend of Richard (courtesy Gillian Cornwall)
His girlfriend, Eunice Jay was stationed at RAF Biggin Hill whilst they were courting, working in the operations room. She had been injured when a Luftwaffe aircraft crashed at the base, receiving a scar over her eye as a result. Her daughter explained that she never got over his loss, her second marriage ended in divorce. She spent her life devoted to her children.
14th January - Fl/Lt. McAdam DFC. AFC. was seen to have been hit by flak, crashing during a dive.
16th January 1944 - Search for enemy destroyers, flying JP973. Up at 11.50 hrs. Down 13.20 hrs. 4 Aircraft taking part. Found 4 destroyers 10 miles west of Penmarch Point sailing SSE.
17th january 1944 - Search for ‘E’ boats, flying JP973. Up at 09.05 hrs. Down at 10.40 hrs. 7 Aircraft took off but 3 failed to form up and returned to base. Accurate short burst of flak from St. Mathieu.
21st January 1944 - Fighter sweep, flying JP385. Up at 13.35 hrs. Down at 15.50 hrs. Sgt. Eddie Frederick Bush 1585367 was seen to hit the sea 36 miles north of Bats - cause unknown, no enemy aircraft. Flying at sea-level, visibility excellent.
183 Squadron Typhoon (AR Archives)
21st January 1944 - Air sea rescue search, flying JR208. Up at 16.40 hrs. Down at 17.35 hrs. Flew to area of loss of Sgt. Bush, no sign, returned to base. 3 Aircraft taking part.
23rd January 1944 - Bombing of Noball target, Cherbourg area. Flying JB208. Up at 14.20 hrs. Down 15.50 hrs. Made landfall near Carteret, flying at 10,000 ft turning to Valognes. Target obscured by 10/10 cloud. Dived to 5,000 ft, bombed alternative target. Two bursts seen on target. Orbited and returned to Harrowbeer. No flak. 5 Aircraft taking part.
27th January 1944 - Fighter Sweep, long range. Flying JR427. Up at 11.5 hrs. Down at 13.00 hrs. Flying at sea level - sighted two small ships, no enemy aircraft - flak from ships and from Groix.
28th January 1944 - Fl/Sgt. Phillips ditched, but squadron could see no trace of him.
Ned and Richard Foster (brothers) with the Uncle of Gillian, Edward Smith (courtesy Gillian Cornwall)
29th January 1944 - Fighter Sweep, long range. Flying JR427. Up at 14.30 hrs/ Down at 16.55 hrs. Flak moderate to heavy but not very accurate. 5 Aircraft taking part. Earlier in the day the squadron took part in another long range fighter sweep. 27 year old Fl/Lt. Stuart James Lovell (2) 107258 was seen to crash in flames, possibly by flak as no enemy aircraft seen. 23 year old Sgt. Sidney William Smith 1394048 went missing and no one knew what had happened to him.
30th January 1944 - Fighter Sweep, long range. Flying JP973. Up at 14.25 hrs. Down at 16.40 hrs. Flak moderate / light but accurate from Glennan. 8 Aircraft taking part.
Right: Kerlin Bastard Airfield (archives)
31st January 1944 - Fighter Sweep, Kerlin Bastard - Gael - St. Brieuc. Flying JP963. Up at 13.35 hrs. Down at 15.45 hrs. Sq/Ldr. W. Dring DFC decided to abandon operation and return due to weather. 6 Aircraft taking part.
On passing the airfield at Kerlin-Bastard, F/O. Foster was hit in the starboard wing petrol tank by incendiary fire from northern end of airfield. He climbed to 7,800 ft, was seen to jettison his hood to bale out, but the aircraft burst into flames. Not seen to leave the aircraft.
At the time of his death he was courting a young girl, Eunice Audrey Jay. He left her a book about the Cotswolds and inside was this poem, taken from the words by William Morris.
Now sweet, sweet it is through the land to be straying
’Mid the birds and the blossoms and the beasts of the field;
Love mingles with love, and no evil is weighing
On thy heart or mine, where all sorrow is healed.
Left: The poem (courtesy Gillian Cornwall)
Her daughter Gillian, sent us the photographs in July 2014. Sadly her mother died at the young age of 58.
(1) We never claim that we are always correct with our information and are open to any submissions on any corrections. The data for his aircraft serial number we obtained from the original records held at the National Archives, London - copy available on request. (AIR27/1137)
(2) His brother, W/Cdr. Anthony Desmond Lovell 40402 DSO and bar, DFC and bar, American DFC was also killed in service - tragically after the war had ended, on the 17th August 1945, age 26.
Above and right: Guidel Communal Cemetery (courtesy Kate Tame)
F/O. Richard Norman Foster. Guidel Communal Cemetery. Row 6. Grave 12. Son of William W. Foster and Marion Foster, of Stow-on-the-Wold, Gloucestershire, England.
Researched and dedicated to Gillian Cornwall and the relatives of this pilot, with thanks to Kate Tame and her friends for visiting the cemetery in June 2014 and taking the grave photographs.
Further information from the National Archives, Kew, London. Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses' Vol. 1-3, Commonwealth War Graves Commission.