Name: William H. FosterService:Merchant SeamanWilliam Foster was the son of Charles and Jane Foster of Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. He had three brothers, Wallace, Edward, and Harvey, and two sisters, Mary (Alice) and Annie.William Foster did not enlist in the military during World War I; however, was a merchant seaman aboard the SS George Royle that transported material between England and the continent during the war. The ship was a coal cargo ship (collier).On January 18, 1915, the SS George Royle, owned by James Westoll and built in 1892 by Short Bros., was bound from the Tyne to Saint Nazaire, in France when the ship encountered a blizzard. The ship was reported to be in a sinking condition. A RNLI (Royal National Lifeboat Institution) lifeboat was sent out from Cromer in Norfolk but found no trace of the SS George Royle. The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) provided lifeboats to lifeboat stations in the United Kingdom and Ireland. There are conflicting reports concerning survivors. One account claims that all the crew were lost; another that five survived. No word had been received from William since June 1914 and his family initiated enquires. It was learned from a shipping company in London that William had shipped out as a cook on the SS George Royle and the ship had been lost at sea in January 1915. Sources:“A Monument Speaks” A Thurston; 1989 (p 149)Article: Loss of the George Royle: (The Times)
THE LOSS OF THE GEORGE ROYLETheGeorgeRoyle,avesselof2,525tons, whichlefttheTynelastFridayboundforSt. Nazaire,founderedduringtheearlyhoursof yesterdaymorningamiletotheeastof Sheringhamshoalandthreetofourmilesdue north of the coast-guard station atWeybourne. Ofhercrewof12to18handsitisfearedthatallwerelostsavefive,whoweretakenoffby a Lowestoft craft which had arrived at that port.Between8and10yesterdaymorningfive bodieswererecoveredfromtheseaat Weybourne.Otherbodieswereseenfloatingpast toofarouttoberecoveredbythepeopleonthe shore,whoincludedcoastguardsandTerritorials. Onewasthatofalittleboynotmorethan10 years of age. Laterinthemorningsomeotherbodies werewashedashoreatMundesley,16milestothe eastward,forthewindandsetofthecurrent wouldtakethemwelloutpastCromer,whichis midway between there and Weybourne.
At 3 o'clock in the morning the Cromer lifeboatwaslaunchedinresponsetoflaresseenfromthe north-westofthetown,whichwouldbeinthe direction of Sheringham Shoal. Thetidewasaboutdeadlowanditwasinthe teethofaperfectblizzardthathercrewputoff.No soonerhadshetakenthewaterthanahugewave swept her broadside towards the eastern breakwater. Totheonlookers,amongwhomwasMr.Noel Buxton,M.P.,onlyadarkspeckwasvisibleperilously nearin,andonlyverysmartseaman-shiponthepart ofhercoxswainandcrewsavedthemfrombeing dashedagainstthebreakwater.Oncemoretheygot herheadontotheseasandatlastshegotsafelyoff.By8o'clockthewreckageontheshoreat Cromertoldofdisasteralongthecoast,andtwo emptyboatscameinatWeybourne,onebeingdashedassoonasittouchedtheshingle.Thecontained provisions.LaterinthemorningtheCromerlifeboat passedeastward,makingforYarmouth,whereshe arrivedintheafternoonhavingaboardthecrewofa sailing craft.