The Collingham Parish magazine of December 1914, published a list of men serving on that date, which includes the name of G. Forster, but with no military unit listed. A few months later, in February 1915, a longer list was published in the magazine. Private George Forster is listed, this time with the unit given as 9th West Yorkshire Regiment.
The 1918 electoral roll for Collingham lists John and Mary Forster in the main list and George Adamson Norman Forster as being Absent due to Naval or Military service. The question is whether this is one man, or two, who served.
Because of the number and combination of Christian names, we can start with George Adamson Norman Forster. He was born on the 20th February 1895 in Earsdon, Blyth, Newsham, Northumberland, the son of John Forster and his wife Mary. This George's service record has survived and confirms his place of birth as Blyth in Northumberland. However on the Attestation Form Army Form B. 2065 is a question "Have you resided out of your father's house for three years continuously in the same place, or occupied a house or land of the yearly value of £10 for one year, and paid rates for the same, and, in either case, if so, state where?". To this question, George Adamson Norman Forster answered "No. Station House, Collingham Bridge". Later, on the form, George gave the name and address of his next of kin as Mr J Forster, Station House, Collingham Bridge, Nr Leeds. We can therefore be sure that George Adamson Norman Forster was from Collingham and did serve. However the question remains whether there was another 'George Forster' who served.
The service record for George Adamson Norman Forster, and the medal rolls and the medal index cards show that he served in 17th Battalion (the North Eastern Railway Battalion) of the Northumberland Fusiliers and the Royal Engineers. There is no record of him serving in the 9th Battalion of the West Yorkshire Regiment as reported in the Parish Magazine. This suggests either that there was a mistake in the Parish Magazine, or that we should be looking for a separate, second George Forster.
A search of the medal rolls shows that 95 men named George Forster were awarded campaign medals for World War 1, and there is also the possibility that 'our' man did not serve overseas and was not awarded any medal. A more detailed search reveals that only one man, named George Oliver Forster, was awarded campaign medals AND served in the West Yorkshire Regiment, although his service was in the 2nd Battalion rather than the 9th.
It still remains an unanswered question whether one man (George Adamson Norman Forster) from Collingham served and was wrongly attributed to the 9th West Yorks in the Parish Magazine, or if two men (George Adamson Norman Forster of the Northumberland Fusiliers and the Royal Engineers AND George Forster of the 9th West Yorkshire Regiment) served their country.
We believe it is likely that the information that the Wetherby News had was incorrect and that only one man, George Adamson Norman Forster, was involved. For his story follow his link.
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