Private Sidney John Foot

Sidney John Foot
Photograph courtesy of 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
© Ancestry.co.uk
Sidney Foot 1886 Baptism Certificate
© Ancestry.co.uk

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

His mother was Mary A. Foot nee Denyard/Dinyard, born about 1862/1863 at Chilthorne Domer, Somerset. His father was Charles Foot, who worked as a labourer. He was born about 1861/1862 at Sherborne, Dorset.  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. The family occupied three rooms. Sidney’s father worked as a general labourer. The family lived together with Charles Denyard/Dinyard (65 years old); 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 © Ancestry.co.uk

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 © Ancestry.co.uk

On 30th January 1909 Sidney married Mabel in Sherborne, Dorset. Mabel Beatrice Foot (nee Trim) and was born on July 1890 at Trent, Sherborne. Sidney was working as a Labourer on L S W Railway. The family occupied three rooms. 

Sidney had four children: Ivy Myrtle born on 14th February 1909 and Doris Irene born on 22nd May 1910, both in Thornford. Sydney John born on 18th June 1912 and Winifred Noris born on 30th April 1914, both in Yetminster Dorset.

It was most likely that it was Sidney’s eldest brother Edward Charles Foot, 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 at Milton Heath. 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. 

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. He was 5 foot 6 inches in height, 131 lbs in weight, with brown eyes, dark brown hair, fresh complexion. He had a scar on the little finger of his right hand.

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

His Military History Sheet states that Sidney was initially serving at Home from 25th January 1904 to 26th August 1914 – ten years and 214 days. Sidney was granted a Good Conduct Badge on 25th January 1906. On 1st June 1906 Sidney qualified as a cold shoer (putting a malleable shoe on a horse). On 24th 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
http://www.1914-1918.net/reserve.htm.

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 5th August 1914 . On 27th August he was posted to France. The Battalion had landed at Havre France on August 16th. From 27th August 1914 to 22nd 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 22nd 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 24th 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 Flanders.

Sidney’s wife Mabel 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 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
Father of Ivy Myrtle, Doris Irene, Sydney John and Winifred Noris
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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