Tributes to 94-year-old Plymouth war hero Jack Foster
A DECORATED war hero from Honicknowle has died at the age of 94.
Jack Foster, a former infantryman, had been given the Military Medal for his bravery during the D-Day landings in June 1944.
His son Stephen paid tribute to him saying: "He was an inspirational father and he made sure I was installed with good values."
It may well have been those strong values that helped Mr Foster during his testing time during the war.
Mr Foster was born in 1919 in St Austell, Cornwall but spent his early years growing up in North Hill, Plymouth, attending the now defunct Sutton High School.
He moved to London for a short time to work as a dispatcher for Oxford University Press before joining the Duke of Cornwall Light Infantry in 1939.
The regiment were specifically trained for D-Day, a momentous offensive which helped to break the German line.
Stephen, who now lives in London, said his Dad spoke of "elation and excitement" at having the chance to go to France and fight.
He added: "The Lawrence Olivier film Henry V had just been released and he explained how that had galvanised the troops. It was also the first time he had been out of the UK."
One of the regiment's main objectives was to take Hill 112. As a radio operator and signaller Mr Foster was one of the first up the hill. Along with a Colonel called James, they relayed messages back to the oncoming troops.
Colonel James and 200 men in the regiment were killed in the process and Mr Foster was awarded the Military Cross for his bravery.
The medal describes how he had to whisper his radio messages across as he was so close to enemy troops.
Mr Foster was later captured by enemy forces in 1945 and interred in the Bergen-Belson prisoner of war camp.
According to his memoirs the food was scarce and they were sometimes forced to make soup out of grass.
Even so, the prisoners at times came into contact with Jews held in the concentration part of the camp and would give them whatever food they could spare.
After being liberated by allied soldiers Mr Foster was medically discharged and came back to Plymouth.
Mr Foster met his wife Lorraine, a Plymouth girl, on Queen Elizabeth's Coronation Day in 1952 but did not marry until 1956.
They lived in the same house on Murray Vale Road in Honicknowle for 52 years.
A loyal man, Mr Foster worked as a printer for Latimer Trend and stayed with them until his retirement.
Son Stephen and his wife Sue described how Mr Foster would be recognised everywhere in the city.
"He had a whole network of friends and he would always stop and talk with people he ken.
"Whenever we went into the city centre with him someone would always come up and say hello.
"His passing is sad but now it is about celebrating his life.
"He touched so many people with his cheerfulness. He always wanted to do people a good turn."
Jack Foster died last week after complications from his battle with pneumonia. He leaves a wife and son.
His funeral will be held tomorrow at 3pm at Western Mill Crematorium.