J B Forster

Major General John Burton Forster CB was born in 1856 and was in the Blucher from 1867 to 1872. He was Colonel of The Royal Irish Regiment and died on June 13 at his home in Bournemouth in his 83rd year.

After Sandhurst he was commissioned in the Royal Irish. As a subaltern he was with the 1st Battalion in the Khyber Line force during the Second Afghan War, 1879—80. Promoted captain in 1881, he commanded a company in the Nile Expedition of 1884—85 when the 1st Royal Irish won [future Honorary member of the Lodge] Lord Wolseley‘s prize for the best passage of the Nile. Captain Forster’s mechanical ability was of particular value during this operation, for he attended personally to the boat repairs, receiving special mention in Lord Wolseley’s congratulatory order.

When the 2nd Battalion joined the Kurram- Kohat Force during the North-West Frontier troubles of 1897—98 he was second-in-command, and succeeded to the command as Lieutenant-Colonel in December 1897. He was promoted Colonel and selected for a staff appointment in India, serving as Assistant Adjutant-General at the Headquarters of the Bengal Command for five years. His next appointment was Brigadier-General commanding the South Irish grouped Regimental Districts which he held from May, 1907, until June, 1908, being promoted Major-General. He went out to India again in 1910, to command the Quetta Brigade of the Southern Army, returning to England in 1913.

After the outbreak of the Great War he was appointed to command the 55th West Lancashire Division of the Territorial Force, and when, towards the end of 1915, the division was broken up preparatory to its reorganization in France, he passed to the command of the 2nd-Line Division. He was retired for age in 1917, and made CB, receiving a special meritorious service pension. In 1918, he became Colonel of the Royal Irish Regiment, which he reviewed in May, 1922, delivering a farewell address, before its disbandment.

He was a Founder of our Lodge, having been initiated into Northern Star Lodge No 1463.

In addition to being a distinguished soldier, he had a considerable reputation as a hunter of big game. He also painted, wrote well on many subjects, was a keen yachtsman, and was possessed of considerable mechanical ability.