William George Foote

 

Lance-Serjeant; 2nd Battalion, Royal Welsh Fusiliers

Killed in action: 2nd January 1916, France

William George Foote was born in Cardiff in early 1888 to John and Hannah. The family lived initially in Elm Street in Roath before moving Alma Terrace in Whitchurch. After he left school, William worked for a time as a gardener, but in September 1906 at the age of 18 he enlisted in the Army, joining the Royal Welsh Fusiliers.

In 1908 he was sent overseas with the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers and served for six years in India, returning home in March 1914. By now his parents had moved to Upper Mill Farm in Llanishen.

He was not home for long before the war broke out, and he was sent to France with the British Expeditionary Force in August 1914. Though it appears his battalion saw a relatively quiet 1914, in 1915 they were involved in the Second Battle of Ypres and the Battle of Loos. William rose steadily through the ranks during this time, and by the end of 1915 had been promoted to Lance Serjeant. At the end of the year his battalion had been incorporated into a “New Army” Division (the 33rd) near the Somme, and no doubt he would have spent much time instructing the new and nervous recruits.

The exact circumstances of William’s death are not known; though his unit was on a quiet sector of the front in early 1916, he may have been killed by a sniper’s bullet or an indiscriminate mortar or artillery shell. He was just 28 when he died, and his remains were interred in the churchyard in Cambrin, France. He is also commemorated in St Isan’s Church.