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In honour of our soldiers: Russell Bowyer Foster

By Samuel Cheng

Published 12:53 PST, Fri November 24, 2023

In a series of Richmond’s ‘poppy’ street signs in memory of our fallen soldiers, we share the story of Foster Road.

Russell Foster, born on July 9, 1918 in Vancouver, was the son of a widowed mother Florence Minnie Foster. He lived with his sister Bernice and brother Courtney at what was then RR 1, Steveston.

Foster was a well-known lacrosse player in the community of Richmond and was the alumni of Richmond High School. Foster took on a Sprott-Shaw Commercial course after his high school graduation in 1935.

With a bright future ahead of him, the young Foster landed himself a job with James Richardson and Sons as a junior clerk two years later. Using his education and experiences as a jump board, Foster went on to join the Richmond Dairy Products, working as an assistance bookkeeper.

Due to his excellent track record and job performance, Foster became a stenographer and bookkeeper for the City of Richmond in October of 1940. A stenographer is a specialized individual who has received professional training in transcribing speech in shorthand. Today, a stenographer is commonly found in court hearings, depositions, trials and other legal proceedings.

On July 21, 1941, Foster enlisted with the Royal Canadian Air Force and was sent to Brandon, Manitoba for training. His job position was to be retained until his return from the war, in which the brave soldier never did. 

Foster spent the next couple of years on the bases in Alberta and Saskatchewan. Foster was soon promoted to Pilot Officer rank in the September of 1942, in which he left for England two months later. 

On July 18, 1943, Foster along with three other Royal Canadian Air Force crew members, #144 Hong Kong Squadron, were tragically killed when their aircraft has collided with a balloon cable near the aerodrome on Pantelleria, Italy.

Foster was initially buried in the United States Military Cemetery before being transported and reburied in the Enfidaville War Cemetery in Enfidha, Tunisia.

Three years after his death, the City of Richmond made the decision to erect a road sign in his name. Today, Foster Road can be found to the north of Francis Road, in between Gilbert and No. 3 Road.

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