John Foster was born in London on 1 September 1873, the son of William and Sarah Jane Foster. His father was a builder, and both of his parents were born in Totnes, Devon, England. In 1904 he married Mary Alice Weymouth (née Foster) who was his first cousin and the daughter of his father’s brother. They lived at 23 Leechwell Street, Totnes, Devon, with Mary’s widowed father and their children.
John was a professional seaman in the British Mercantile Marine, and served as a first class waiter in the Stewards' Branch on board the
Lusitania. He was killed when the liner was sunk while off the Old Head of Kinsale in southern Ireland on 7 May 1915. He was aged 41 years
His body was not recovered and identified afterwards, so his name is recorded on the Mercantile Marine Memorial at Tower Hill, London.
In August 1915 Mary Foster was given the balance of wages owing to her late husband for his service on the
Lusitania’s final voyage. The Liverpool and London War Risks Insurance Association Limited also granted her a yearly pension to compensate her for the loss of her husband. This amounted to £66-14s-1d (£66.70½) per annum, which was payable at the rate of £5-11s-3d (£5.56) per month.
Register of Births, Marriages and Deaths, 1881 Census of England and Wales, 1911 Census of England and Wales, Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Cunard Records, UniLiv. PR 13/24, PRO BT 334.