Hubert Foster

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Hubert John Foster
Born 4 October 1885 (1885-10-04)
Biggleswade, Bedfordshire
Died 21 March 1919(1919-03-21) (aged 63)
Cooma, New South Wales
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch British Army
Australian Army
Years of service 1875–1918
Rank Brigadier General
Commands held Quartermaster-General, Canadian Forces
Chief of the General Staff
Battles/wars 1882 Anglo-Egyptian War
First World War

Brigadier General Hubert John Foster (4 October 1855 – 21 March 1919) was a senior officer in the Australian Army who served as Chief of the General Staff (1916–1917).

Military career[edit]

Educated at Harrow School and the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich and having won the Pollock Medal there, Foster was commissioned into the Royal Engineers in 1875.[1]

He was deployed to Cyprus when British troops occupied the island in 1878.[1] He served in the Egyptian War of 1882 and took part in the Battle of Tel el-Kebir and the occupation of Cairo.[1] In 1886 he joined the staff of the Commander-in-Chief, Ireland.[1] He transferred to the military intelligence division of the War Office in 1890.[1]

In 1898 he was made Quartermaster-General of the Canadian Forces and managed the deployment of Canadian troops for the Second Boer War.[1] In 1901 he went to Guernsey and Alderney as commanding Royal Engineer.[1] Then in 1903 he was made British Military attaché in Washington, D. C. and Mexico City.[1]

Foster became a leading military writer following his appointment in 1906 as Director of Military Science at the University of Sydney.[1] He lobbied for the adoption of an expeditionary strategy with a major role for the Australian Army which was in sharp contrast to the views of Admiral Sir William Cresswell who advocated a policy of defending the shores of the continent of Australia.[2]

Foster went on to serve in World War I and was appointed Chief of the General Staff in January 1916.[2] In March 1916 he became a temporary brigadier general in the A.M.F. In October 1917 he became Director of Military Art at the Royal Military College, Duntroon but resigned after a year due to ill health.[1]

He was placed on the retired list, A.M.F., as an honorary brigadier general on 19 October 1918. He died on 21 March 1919 at Carlaminda, near Cooma, New South Wales, and was buried in Cooma cemetery with Anglican rites. He was survived by his wife and their son, (Sir) John Galway Foster, who later became a member of the British House of Commons.[1][3]


In 1904 he married Mary Agatha Gough, née Tobin.[1]


Military offices
Preceded by
Colonel Godfrey Irving
Chief of the General Staff
Succeeded by
Lieutenant General James Legge