Forster, Alfred Henry


He was the younger son of Lord Forster, 1st Baron Forster of Lepe, Governor General of Australia from 1919, of Exbury House, Exbury, Hampshire, and Lady Forster GBE (née Rachel Cecily Douglas-Scott-Montague, daughter of 1st Baron Montagu of Beaulieu).  The family lived at Southend Hall, near Lewisham from the late 18th century until 1914.   Lord Forster was appointed 7th Governor General of Australia in 1920.

Forster came to Southgate House (Hawkins’) from Ludgrove School, and going on to RMC Sandhurst, was commissioned in the Scots Greys on July 19th 1916.

He went to France in the following February and was promoted to Lieutenant on January 19th 1918.  He fell seriously wounded near Le Cateau on October 17th 1918. His name had by then appeared once in Despatches. Forster died of his injuries in the Gerstley-Hoare Hospital at 53 Cadogan Square, London on March 10th 1919, at the age of twenty-one. His funeral service, held at St. Saviour’s Church, Walton Street, London, was attended by, amongst many others, Prince Arthur of Connaught and General Sir William Robertson, Chief of the Imperial General Staff (otherwise the head of the British Army). He was subsequently buried at St Katherine’s Church, Exbury.

Inside St. Katherine’s is an outstanding memorial to him. It portrays Forster’s figure in bronze, so detailed (down to the laces on the boots) that it was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1924. The sculptor, Cecil Thomas, had been in hospital with Forster for four months, and had become a great friend of his. After the war Lord and Lady Forster commissioned him to sculpt the memorial to both their sons; his elder brother 2nd Lieutenant John Forster, (2nd Batt. King’s Royal Rifle Corps) who was educated at Eton, had been killed in action on 14th September 1914.  For details of the model for the tomb: http://www.vam.ac.uk/users/node/6075

War: World War 1

  • Surname: Forster
  • Forenames or initials: Alfred Henry
  • House: F
  • Years in School: 1911-1915
  • Rank: Lieutenant
  • Regiment: Scots Greys
  • Date of Birth: 7th February 1897
  • Date of Death: 10th March 1919
  • How Died: Died of wounds
  • Location in War Cloister: Outer G1
  • Decoration: NA
  • Burial Site: EXBURY (ST. KATHERINE) CHURCHYARD