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major foote 2Trevor Mawdsley Foote was born on 30th January 1877 and was the fifth child of Reverend Lundy Edward William Foote and Ann Foote (nee Barran, daughter of Sir John Barran, 1st Bt.) of St. Peter’s Vicarage, Harrogate, Yorkshire. Rev Lundy E. W. Foote was the vicar at St Peter’s Church from 1870 until 1922. Trevor had five brothers and two sisters;

Anne Lillian Foote (b. 1868)
Douglas Foote (b. 1873)
Charles Llewelyn Foote (b. 1874)
William Leslie Foote (b. 1876)
Trevor Mawdsley Foote (b. 1877)
Courtney Foote (b. 1879)
Annie Emily Irene Foote (b. 1881)

He was educated at St Edwards School Oxford, after which he went to Canada. In late 1914 he was appointed a Lieutenant with the 50th Gordon Highlanders but in March 1915 he took a commission in the Imperial Forces and joined the 8th Battalion of the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment.

By the time T. M. Foote sailed to France on 26th September 1915 he had been promoted to Captain and later that year he made several appeals in the Harrogate Herald trying to get readers to send across some musical instruments and socks in order to make the lives of his men more comfortable.

The article below appears to have been made via a member of the congregation of St Peter’s;

Harrogate Herald – 8th December 1915

Two gramophones are wanted at the front. Can any of my readers oblige? The 8th Royal (sic) North Lancasters (sic) are wishful to have a number of mouth organs. The cost is but a shilling each, so I am in hope many friends will be able to come forth and contribute them. Captain Foote, son of our beloved Vicar of St Peter’s, has made the appeal to me through his people. I am sure we shall all be glad to do what we can in this matter for the soldiers and at the same time to show our regard for Captain Foote and his family. Driver E Darley is in need of a melodeon for his comrades. I have had letters from the Front full of gratitude for the musical instruments that have been sent them so far. I am told that some of the marches would never have been so successful and the work so much lightened, had it not been for the cheering strains of these instruments. This fact will be an additional incentive to my generous readers to make further efforts on our boy’s behalf. I would again impress upon donors the necessity of allowing their names to go forth to the boys at the Front. This knowledge adds value and interest to the kind acts. The fact is so well understood that no contributor need feel that he or she is in danger of the charge of seeking notoriety. This concession is one of sacrifices we ought to be able to make.

His mother wrote a week later and referenced an earlier appeal for socks.

Harrogate Herald – 15th December 1915

Sir, Some weeks ago you were good enough to insert in your valuable paper a request for 250 pair of socks to be sent to our son, Captain Foote, so that each of his men may have a pair for Xmas. I am glad to say that I have had a most generous response to that appeal, and have sent off the 250 pair.

Captain Foote writes : “Every stitch of the socks made by the kind workers has its own reward to them, in the additional comfort which the warm socks give to my dear lads. Do, please, thank every one who has given them”.

As long as I am able to do so, I shall now and then (as required) send out a parcel of socks, and shall be glad of any which may be sent to me, as I hear from many sources how urgent it is that our brave soldiers should have frequent changes. Most of the socks should be 11½ inches long in the foot by 4½ inches wide.

Thanking you very much for allowing me the medium of you paper.

I am, yours truly, A Foote

PS – One kind giver sent me three pair of socks and a Christmas card inside each pair, but, as she only signed her name MS, and put no address, I hope she will see this, and accept my warm thanks.

On 21st May 1916 the Germans launched an attack on Broadmarsh crater which would see Lieutenant Richard Basil Brandram Jones being awarded the Victoria Cross. That evening the Battalion launched a counter attack on the Germans during which Captain T.M Foote was wounded.

The Regimental History records the following about events that day;

During the 21st (May 1916) the German guns fired very heavily, communication with our front line was cut off, and about 7.30 p.m. the Germans exploded a mine a few yards to the south of Broadmarsh crater and then attacked in successive lines of infantry. The fire of the Battalion did great execution and fighting was heavy and prolonged with rifle, bomb and bayonet. The ammunition and bomb supply began to run out but the 8th Bn. held their ground admirably led by Lieut Jones, Sergeant Grayson and Corporal Coates and the men were at last reduced to “bombing” the Germans with lumps of chalk, flint and even empty bomb boxes. The Battalion were eventually made to fall back but they were ordered to counter-attack on the lines they had lost at 2 p.m the next day (22nd May 1916). Led by Major F. G. Wynne, the Battalion were deployed reader for the counter-attack by 1.45 p.m. and began to crawl forward under shell and machine-gun fire, when the Germans began to fall back to the line in the rear. Owning to uncut wire and heavy losses, Major Wynne decided to advance no further than their original positions and the line here was then strengthened. The Bn. was relived by the 3rd Worcestershire Regt. by 8.45 p.m. that evening and withdrew to dug-outs in the rear. Casualties had been heavy, Lieutenants R. B. B. Jones and E. J. Nicholls had been killed; Captain T. M. Foote, Lieutenants L. T. Taylor (later died of wounds), F. Gregory, Second Lieutenants W. V. Brunger, R. D. Muir and W. J. Whitehead being wounded. Other ranks; 27 killed, 103 wounded and 15 missing.

The London Gazette” dated 5th August 1916 gave the citation for Lt. Jones V.C.

“For most conspicuous bravery. He was holding with his platoon a crater recently captured from the enemy. About 7.30 P.M. the enemy exploded a mine forty yards to his right, and at the same time put a heavy barrage of fire on our trenches, thus isolating the Platoon. They then attacked in overwhelming numbers. Lt. Jones kept his men together, steadying them by his fine example, and shot no less than fifteen of the enemy as they advanced, counting them aloud as he did so to cheer his men. When his ammunition was expended he took a bomb, but was shot through the head while getting up to throw it. His splendid courage had so encouraged his men that when they had no more ammunition or bombs they threw stones and ammunition boxes at the enemy till only nine of the platoon were left. Finally they were compelled to retire.”

Captain Foote was wounded having been shot by two machine bullets to the buttocks and spent several months in hospital in France before being returned to England. On his recovery he was returned to France to rejoin his men and at some point in late 1916/early 1917 he was appointed acting Major.

major foote

Major Foote was killed near Ypres on 10th July 10th 1917 whilst attempting to get his men under cover from German Shells. He was buried in VLAMERTINGHE NEW MILITARY CEMETERY.

major foote cwgc

On 9th July 1917 the Battalion arrived in Ypres having marched from south of St. Omer. During the final march to Ypres the road they were following was heavily shelled. One shell fell close to the headquarter party and killed 30099 Regimental Serjeant Major Robert Proctor and 34792 Private John Clegg along with seven other casualties. Almost immediately afterwards another shell exploded and killed Major Trevor Mawdsley Foote who was moving along the road.

His colonel wrote;

“I cannot tell you how much I regret his loss, its a great one to me personally and to the whole batallion. He was always cheerful, keen in his work and an example of coolness under fire. His Place will be very hard to fill. The Battalion has suffered no greater loss than that of Major Foote since it first came to France. His death has been a great shock to us and your loss is shared by us all. Major Foote loved and cared for his men and brother officers. His men adored and idolised him and would have followed him anywhere. It was an inspiration to any officer to have known such a character”.

The Harrogate Herald of 25th July 1917 made the following announcements;

Major T M Foote, Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, son of the Rev L E W and Mrs Foote, of Victoria Avenue, Harrogate, has been killed in action. Major Foote was killed instantaneously at Ypres whilst trying to get his men under cover from the awful gun fire of the enemy. He had previously been wounded in 1915. The sympathy of the parishioners and townspeople will be with the Rev L E W and Mrs Foote during this sad time.

… and a letter from W H Breare added,

The Rev L E W and Mrs Foote, of St Peter’s Vicarage, are amongst our very oldest Harrogate friends. You will know, then, dear boys, with what sorrow I tell you their son, Major Foote, has been killed in action. I learnt this sad news from Mr William Ferguson. He received it from friends in Bridlington, where Mr and Mrs Foote were taking a holiday. I cannot tell you any particulars regarding Major Foote’s death, but you will doubtless find them somewhere in the Herald today. This I do know; the Major was exceedingly fond of and good to his men, and they in turn had real affection for him. You will remember that he wrote home to his mother asking for certain comforts for his boys, which, I am glad to say, were very promptly sent, and that many of our townspeople contributed to the store with joyous liberality. Mrs Foote has not been in the best of health for some time, but we often see her in a bath-chair or her carriage. I am glad to hear from a private source that she has received this heaviest of blows with surpassing bravery.

Anne later applied for her late son’s 1914/15 star, British War Medal and Allied Victory Medal. The family would also receive a memorial plaque and scroll bearing his name and in recognition of his sacrifice.

Reverend Lundy Foote commissioned Burlison & Grylls to create the stained glass windows in St. Peter’s church which depict three of his sons. The face Gabriel is Charles Llewellyn, St. George is a representation of Trevor, and St. Michael is William Leslie. Only Trevor died during the Great War, Charles had died in British Columbia in 1903.

sons of foote

Rank: Major
Date of Death: 10/07/1917
Age: 40
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 8th Bn.
Cemetery: VLAMERTINGHE NEW MILITARY CEMETERY

Information for this article was kindly provided by Richard Steel.

 

Paul McCormick
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Paul McCormick

Paul McCormick is the creator and administrator for the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment website. Since 2010 he has been researching the soldiers that served during the First World War and sharing their stories on his website. You can contact Paul through the website 'Contact Me' page or on Twitter and Facebook.
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