Private Sidney John Foot

Sidney John Foot
© Royston Williamson 2015

Thanks to Simon Jervis and Lenka Cathersides for this research.

Sidney and his brother Benjamin James Foot were both killed in World War One. Both men were based in Dorset and we were unsure of the connection to Dorking. Further research shows that they had an older brother Edward Charles Foot who was employed as a cowman at Milton Heath, Dorking – and he may have campaigned for their names to appear on the South Street War Memorial.

Sidney Foot 1866 Birth Register ©
Sidney Foot 1866 Birth Register ©
Sidney Foot 1886 Baptism Certificate ©
Sidney Foot 1886 Baptism Certificate ©

Sidney John Foot was born in January 1886 at Sherborne, Dorset, England. He was baptized on the 7th March 1886 at Thornford, Dorset, England. 

His mother’s name was Mary A. Foot nee Denyard/Dinyard, born about 1862/1863 at Chilthorne Domer, Somerset. 

His father’s name was Charles Foot, who worked as a labourer. He was born about 1861/1862 at Sherborne, Dorset, England. 

Sidney had four brothers: Charles Edward Foot born about 1883, William Foot born about 1885, Percy Foot born about 1894 and Benjamin Foot born about 1897. 

At the time of the 1891 Census the family lived at Sherborne Road, Pitman Lees, Thornford, Dorset. The family occupied three rooms. Sidney’s father worked as a general labourer. The family lived together with Charles Denyard/Dinyard (abt 65); Sidney’s maternal grandfather, a widower who was also working as a general labourer. By the 1881 Census, Sidney’s mother Mary A. Denyard/Dinyard was already motherless and she had two younger brothers (William and Charles) and three younger sisters (Louisa, Ellen and Alice). They all lived at The Cross, Bradford Abbas, Sherborne, Dorset. 

Sidney Foot 1901 Census ©
Sidney Foot 1901 Census ©

At the time of the 1901 Census, Sidney’s family lived at Main Road Wincanton to Stalbridge No 4, Horsington, Somerset. Sidney’s father worked as a carter on a farm, his brother Charles Edward Foot as a shepherd on a farm and brother William Food as an agricultural labourer. Sidney worked as an agricultural labourer as well. 

Sidney Foot 1911 Census ©
Sidney Foot 1911 Census ©

By the 1911 Census, Sidney was married. He lived with his new family at Thornford Road, Sherborne, Dorset. Sidney’s wife was called Mabel Beatrice Foot nee Trim and was born on July 1890 at Trent, Sherborne, Dorset. Sidney was working as a Labourer on L S W Railway. They occupied three rooms. 

Sidney had four children: Ivy Myrtle Foot born 14.02.1909 Thornford Dorset, Doris Irene Foot born 22.05.1910 Thornford Dorset, Sydney John Foot born 18.06.1912 Yetminster Dorset and Winifred Noris Foot born 30.04.1914 Yetminster Dorset Sidney and Mabel married on the 30th of January 1909 at Sherborne, Dorset.

It was most likely that it was Sidney’s eldest brother Edward Charles Foot (born about 1883) who sponsored his name on Dorking’s memorial as it was he who lived in Dorking from the time of the 1911 Census. Edward lived with his wife Louisa Foot and his son Charles George Foot at New Cottage, Milton Heath, Hampstead Lane, Dorking. He worked as a cowman on a farm in Surrey, England, Electoral Registers show Edward and his wife Louisa living at Westcott Road, Sondes Place Farm, Dorking in 1920.  He is also written as the second next of kin in Foot’s military history sheet, after Sidney’s wife Mabel. 

Sidney’s name is also engraved inside St Martin’s Church on its memorial. 

Physical Description: 

5 feet 6 inches height, 131 lbs weight, brown eyes, dark brown hair, fresh complexion. He had a scar on the little finger of his right hand. His physical development was good.

Military History:

Sidney John Foot enlisted on the 25th of January 1904 at Sherborne at the age of eighteen. He joined on enlistment the 1st Battalion Dorsetshire Regiment on the 29th of January 1904 in Dorchester. His service number was 7100 and he was a Private. At the time of enlistment Sidney was working as a farm labourer and lived with his parents. He also stated that he had never been imprisoned, was not an apprentice nor married. He wanted to be enlisted for Infantry (Dorset Regiment). His religious domination was stated to be the Church of England. 

On the 23th of September 1904 Sidney was stationed at Colchester and on the 23th of December 1904 he was admitted to a local hospital with colic. He stayed in the hospital for nine days and was discharged on the 31st of December 1904. 

His Military History Sheet states that Sidney was initially serving at Home from the 25th of January 1904 to the 26th August 1914 – ten years and 214 days. Sidney was granted a Good Conduct Badge on the 25th of January 1906. On the 1st of June 1906 Sidney was qualified as a cold shoer (putting a malleable shoe on a horse – shoeing smith). On the 24th of January 1907 he was transferred to the 1st Class Army Reserve, Section B

Section B consisted of men who had completed their service in the regular army and were serving their normal period (usually five years) on reserve. Section B reservists could only be summoned in the event of general mobilisation. Men were paid 3 shillings and 6 pence a week

The 1st Battalion Dorsetshire Regiment was, before mobilisation, stationed at Belfast as part of the 15th Brigade of the 5th Division.

Sidney was mobilised at Dorchester on the 5th of August 1914 . On the 27th of August he was posted to France. The Battalion landed at Havre France already on August 16th. From the 27th of August 1914 to the 22nd of October 1914, a mere 57 days, he served as part of the Expeditionary Force abroad. Altogether he was in the Army for ten years and 271 days.

On the 22nd of October 1914, Sidney was reported missing. He was very likely killed during the German attack on the 5th Division at the village of Violaines on the morning of the 22nd. He was 30 years old. 

On the 24th of March 1916 the Army Council decided that Sidney John Foot was to be regarded for official purposes as having died on or since 22nd of October 1914 in French Flanders.

Sidney’s wife Mabel Beatrice Foot was acknowledged to have received the 1914 Star and British War and Victoria medals, on his behalf, by the Infantry Record Office Exeter in 1921. She lived at the time at 10 Mudford Road, Yeovil, Somerset. 

Sidney Foot Roll of Honour Le Touret © CWGC
Sidney Foot Roll of Honour Le Touret © CWGC

Sidney John Foot is engraved on the 22nd and 23th panel at Le Touret Memorial in France. These panels list names of individuals who had been officially declared dead, but they were never buried. 

Born                            Thornford, Dorset

Son of                          Charles and Mary Foot of Thornford, Dorset
Husband of                 Mable Beatrice Foot of 10 Mudford Road, Yeovil, Somerset

Enlisted                       Sherbourne, Dorset

Regiment                     1st Battalion, Dorset Regiment
Number                       7100

Date of Death              22nd October 1914
Place of Death             Festubert, France
Cause of Death           Killed in Action

Age                              30

Memorial                     Le Touret Memorial

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