William Foster MacNeece Foster
|Birth name||William Foster MacNeece|
|Born||21 August 1889|
|Died||28 March 1978 (aged 88)|
|Service/||British Army (1909–18)|
Royal Air Force (1918–45)
|Years of service||1909–37|
|Rank||Air Vice Marshal|
|Commands held||No. 6 (Bomber) Group (1939–42)|
No. 1 Air Defence Group (1929–34)
2nd Balloon Wing (1916–19)
|Battles/wars||First World War|
Second World War
|Awards||Companion of the Order of the Bath|
Commander of the Order of the British Empire
Distinguished Service Order
Distinguished Flying Cross
Mentioned in Despatches
Commander of the Legion of Merit (United States)
Order of the Cloud and Banner with Special Cravat (China)
Air Vice Marshal William Foster MacNeece Foster, (21 August 1889 – 28 March 1978) was a senior Royal Air Force officer who was a member of the Combined Chiefs of Staff from 1942 to 1943. He later became a member of Oxford City Council and Lord Mayor of Oxford.
Born William Foster MacNeece on 21 August 1889 in Aldershot, Surrey, England, he was the eldest son of Colonel T. F. MacNeece RAMC. He was educated at Cheltenham College, an independent school located in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, England. He later assumed the surname of Foster by way of royal licence in 1927.
Having attended the Royal Military College, Foster was commissioned on 6 February 1909 into The Queen's Own (Royal West Kent Regiment) as a second lieutenant. He was promoted to lieutenant on 2 February 1912. Having trained as a pilot, on 31 October 1913, he was awarded Royal Aero Club (RAeC) Aviator Certificate number 671. On 28 April 1914, he was transferred to the reserve of the Royal Flying Corps.
With the outbreak of the First World War, Foster would go on to serve in Europe. In 1914, he was a pilot in No. 3 Squadron RFC, conducting air reconnaissance over France. He was a captain when, on 9 September 1915, he was appointed a flight commander in the Royal Flying Corps. On 5 December 1916, as a temporary major, he was appointed wing commander and made a temporary lieutenant colonel. Foster was awarded the Distinguished Service Order (DSO) in the 1917 New Year Honours.
On 16 January 1919, he joined the Air Ministry as a Staff Officer, 1st Class. Foster became Air Officer Commanding No. 1 Air Defence Group RAF in 1929 and Air Officer Commanding No. 6 (Bomber) Group RAF in 1939. He served in the Second World War in this role before becoming a member of the Combined Chiefs of Staff in 1942, Head of Inter-Service Liaison Committee in Washington D. C. in 1943 and Head of the RAF Training Mission in China in 1944.
Foster married Jean Bruce in 1928. Together they had two daughters.
- M B Barrass (28 August 2012). "Air Vice-Marshal W F MacN Foster". A History of RAF Organisation. Air of Authority. Retrieved 22 April 2018.
- "FOSTER, Air Vice-Marshal William Foster MacNeece". Who Was Who. A & C Black. December 2007. Missing or empty
- Falconer, Jonathan. "The Group Commanders". The Bomber Command Handbook 1939–1945. Royal Air Force. Retrieved 14 September 2012.
- "No. 28221". The London Gazette. 5 February 1909. pp. 948–949.
- "No. 28582". The London Gazette. 20 February 1912. p. 1261.
- "No. 28831". The London Gazette. 15 May 1914. p. 3927.
- "Survey of the Papers of Senior UK Defence Personnel, 1900–1975". Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives. King's College London. Retrieved 14 September 2012.
- "No. 29320". The London Gazette. 8 October 1915. p. 9893.
- "No. 29874". The London Gazette (Supplement). 19 December 1916. p. 12452.
- "No. 29886". The London Gazette (Supplement). 29 December 1916. pp. 19–24.
- "No. 31217". The London Gazette. 7 March 1919. p. 3149.
- "A.V.-M. W.F. Macneece Foster". The Times. 6 April 1978. p. 18.
| Air Officer Commanding No. 1 Air Defence Group