Donegal war hero Duncan Foster formerly of Ballyshannon has died Picture: Phil Hannah
A former Ballyshannon resident who stormed the beaches at Normandy has died in Scotland.
Duncan Foster (96), spent most of his working life in Ballyshannon where he was a respected optician serving a clientele from all over the North West.
In May 2018 he was awarded the Legion d’honneur at a ceremony in his home town in Kinross in Scotland.
The prestigious medal was pinned to the then 95-year-old’s chest by the Consul General of France Emmanuel Cocher, as proud friends, family and fellow veterans looked on.
Born in Glasgow, Mr Foster moved to Perth when his father got a job as the city’s railway station master.
Shortly afterwards, Mr Foster joined the Territorial Army and trained at Fort George, near Inverness, with the Queen’s own Cameron Highlanders.
After basic training, he was sent to the south of England to prepare for D-Day, June 6, 1944.
After landing at Normandy, Mr Foster and the other 5th Camerons were given the job of capturing the village of St Honorine, while the 2nd Battalion the Seaforth Highlanders were to take Demouville.
The tremendous concentration of German firepower made it impossible for the Seaforth Highlanders to advance.
However they entered the village by 8.30am and were “mopping up” by 10am. During the campaign, they encountered a series of vicious counter attacks, but were able to maintain their position.
Mr Foster left the army in 1947 and trained as an optician in Dundee.
He moved to Ballyshannon in the late 40's and developed a healthy practice in both the Erneside town and in Enniskillen.
Speaking to the Democrat in 2018, his daughter Aileen who lives in Ballintra said: “Dad always had a love of the sea and after his stint in the army he was looking for a position. He noticed an opening in “a place called Ballyshannon” and when he saw that it was beside the sea his mind was made up.
“That was the start of his love affair with Ballyshannon and the rugged coastline of Donegal, a love affair that lasted 32 years.”
Aileen continued: “He met up with my mother Sally McClelland who was the daughter of Harry McClelland , the local dentist/pharmacist and the couple married in 1956 in the local Methodist Church.”
The couple went on to rear a family of five, sons Trevor, Roderick and Ian and daughters Aileen and Cassie.
When he retired he returned to Scotland and settled in Kinross where he continued to work as a locum optician into his 80's.
His son Trevor told the Democrat his father had passed away peacefully after a few weeks of declining health at Ashley House in Kinross.”
Mr Foster’s funeral service will take place next Wedensday, August 14 at 10am at Portmoak Church of Scotland in Scotland, followed by reception at the Kirklands Hotel in Kinross. All are welcome.
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