Mr Alfred Charles Foster was born in Kingsworthy, Hampshire, England in early 1875 and was baptised on 25 July that same year.
He was the son of Charles Henry Foster (b. 1842), a mill sawyer, and Elizabeth Ann Macklin (b. 1843) who had married in Southampton in 1861.
Alfred had eleven known siblings: Frederick Herbert (b. 1862), Alice Amelia (b. 1864), Helen (b. 1866), William Henry (b. 1871), Harry (b. 1873), Walter James (b. 1875), Rosa Frances (b. 1877), Albert (b. 1879), Edwin (b. 1881), Frank (b. 1883) and Arthur Sidney (b. 1887).
He first appears on the 1881 census whilst living at 11 Avenue Terrace, Weeke, Hampshire. By the time of the 1891 census he and his family were living at 25 Radcliffe Road, Northam, Southampton and Alfred was described as a railway engine cleaner. He possibly went to sea shortly after this.
Alfred was married in Southampton in early 1897 to Mary Hannah Elizabeth Burton (b. 1873 in Lambeth, London, daughter of Thomas Burton and Mary Ann Brain). The couple would have two daughters, Neva Mary (b. 1898) and Leah Norah (b. 1899), both born in Southampton.
Alfred was missing from both the 1901 and 1911 census records, likely at sea. On the former his wife and children were living at 2 Church Cottages, Shirley, and on the latter at 38 North Front, St Mary, Southampton and the family ran this as a boarding house.
When he signed-on to the Titanic, on 6 April 1912, Alfred gave his address as 38 North Front, (Southampton). His last ship had been the Oceanic. As storekeeper he received monthly wages of £7.
Alfred Foster died in the sinking. His body, if recovered, was never identified.
Following the sinking his widow Mary became involved with a man named Bertie White and had a daughter with him in the early months of 1914 whom they named Sabina Gertrude. Mary and Bertie apparently never married and details about Bertie are lacking. Mary later lived with her daughters at 94 Park Road, Freemantle.
Mary and her daughters Leah and Sabina departed from England on 5 October 1922 aboard the SS Barrabool of the P&O Line, bound for Australia. She was remarried, becoming Mrs Charles King, and settled in Perth. She died there in 1960.
Foster's daughter Leah was later married to Ernest Hutchinson (1893-1969) and later died near Perth on 3 January 1987. What became of his daughter Neva is not known.
Gavin Bell, UK
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