Lt Col Kingsley Foster, DSO, OBE

Kingsley Osbern Nugent Foster
Kingsley Osbern Nugent Foster
Kingsley Osbern Nugent Foster was born in 1906 at Shenley, the home of his Foster grandparents. He spent a lot of his childhood in Antigua with his Nugent grandparents. Kingsley’s parents, Colonel Osbern Foster and Monica Nugent, the daughter of Oliver and Mary Nugent, had met in Antigua when Osbern was posted there with the Northumberland Fusiliers. They married at the island’s St John’s Cathedral on 21st January 1906.

Kingsley came home to England to attend school at St. Faith’s, Cambridge, from which he went to Clifton College, Bristol. In 1925 he joined the Royal Northumberland Fusiliers.

His father was by then second in Command of the Battalion. He had assumed command by 1932 when the Battalion returned to England from Shanghai. In July that year Kingsley married Audrey Geraldine Ballard. They had one daughter, Patricia.

In Bremen on VE Day, 1945.
In Bremen on VE Day, 1945.
Having already served in China and India, Kingsley was posted to Palestine. At the outbreak of the Second World War he was sent to North Africa with the Eighth Army. In 1944 he was given command of the 7th Manchester Regiment which invaded Holland at Wallacheren. For this he received the Order of the Golden Lion from the Dutch for outstanding service in the relief of their country. From there he worked for the Control Commission of Germany at Minden. Peace brought him back to England for two years in Darlington. The next foreign posting was Singapore and Malaya.

Kingsley, sitting, with daughter Patricia, father Osbern and grandmother, Constance
Kingsley, sitting, with daughter Patricia, father Osbern and grandmother, Constance

In 1950 KONF refused an appointment in India as a Brigadier and relinquished his appointment in Singapore as a full Colonel to return to the rank of Lt. Col. in order to command his own Regiment which was then ordered to Korea. He was killed in Korea in April 1951. In England the family lived mainly at The Old Mill House, Hildersham, Cambridge, the home of Kingsley’s parents. After Kingsley’s death, his widow, Audrey, was granted a grace and favour apartment at Hampton Court Palace.

The Mill House, Hildersham, in 1935
The Mill House, Hildersham, in 1935
Military history was of great interest to KONF and as a very young man he started to collect military medals and built up a collection second to few in the British Isles, and was the greatest authority on the subject in the army. He had already published one book on the subject and was writing a second. His own regimental awards are on show as a
The Mill House, by 'Aunt Muriel'
The Mill House, by 'Aunt Muriel'
collection at the Regimental Museum, Alnwick Castle. Others were sold to support his widow. These lamentably included some superb orders and decorations given him by a German Count provided he could get them from where they were hidden in a house in Potsdam then in the Russian Zone, which he managed to do.

Patricia Foster

(Sources: Pictures from the Foster/Nugent family archives.)