Arthur Patrick FOOTT

FOOTT, Arthur Patrick

Service Numbers: 2570, 2570A
Enlisted: 20 March 1916, Brisbane, Queensland
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 1st Pioneer Battalion
Born: Dundoo Station via Thargomindah, Queensland, 29 March 1879
Home Town: Graceville, Brisbane, Queensland
Schooling: Brisbane Grammar School, Queensland, Australia
Occupation: Journalist
Died: Killed in Action, Belgium, 17 September 1917, aged 38 years
Cemetery: Menin Road South Military Cemetery
Plot I, Row Q, Grave 35
Memorials: Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Brisbane Grammar School Memorial Library WW1 Honour Board 1, Corinda Sherwood Shire Roll of Honor, Graceville War Memorial
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World War 1 Service

20 Mar 1916: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, 2570, Brisbane, Queensland
19 Sep 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, 2570, 4th Pioneer Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
19 Sep 1916: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, 2570, 4th Pioneer Battalion, HMAT Seang Choon, Brisbane
17 Sep 1917: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, 2570A, 1st Pioneer Battalion, Third Ypres

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Biography contributed by Faithe Jones

Arthur Foot was born on Dundoo Station in the Warrego district in 1879. His father, Thomas Wade Foott was the owner of the station, having moved to Queensland from Bourke, NSW. Thomas died in 1884 (some reports suggest his death was due to stress caused by the drought) leaving his wife, Mary Hannay Foott and two young sons, Arthur and Cecil destitute. Mary by accounts from the time was an educated woman. She was able to work as a journalist and wrote poetry. Mary Foott’s best known poem is “Where the pelican builds.”

The family moved to Toowoomba for a short while before Mary opened a private school at Rocklea. The school must have been reasonably successful as she was able to have her sons educated at Brisbane Grammar from 1889 to 1890.

When Arthur Foott presented himself for enlistment in March 1916, he was 36 years old, married to Grace Olivia, and was living in Kew Street Graceville. He had one daughter, Grace Patricia Hannay. At enlistment, Arthur reported that he was currently serving with a commission in the 1st Field Company Engineers, Citizens Forces. Unusually Arthur did not apply for a commission in the AIF but enlisted as a private soldier and was drafted into the 4th Pioneer Battalion as a reinforcement.

Pioneers were essentially combat engineers, tasked with trench and dugout construction as well as assisting signallers laying telephone cables and establishing headquarters posts. Arthur embarked on the “Seang Choon” in Brisbane on 19th September 1916 and arrived in Plymouth on the 9th December. During the sea voyage Arthur was promoted to acting sergeant but on arrival in England he reverted to the ranks.

After five months in training in Perham Downs, Arthur was shipped to Belgium where he transferred to the 1st Pioneer Battalion. In June 1917, the battle of Messines opened a series of operations which became known collectively as the Third Battle of Ypres or more commonly Passchendaele. The 1st Pioneers were supporting the Australian 1st Division as they were brought up to the line for action around the Menin Road just east of Ypres. The pioneer war diary outlines continuous work by the pioneers in constructing mule tracks and a light railway as the 1st Division advanced towards the Passchendaele Ridge.

On 17th September 1917, while working in the forward area, Arthur Foot was killed. There is scant evidence surrounding his death, no Red Cross reports are available and Arthur’s file simply states that he was buried at the Menin Road South Military Cemetery.

Arthur’s wife, Grace Foott, received a war widows pension of two pounds per fortnight, and his daughter received one pound. In 1920, Grace remarried, her surname was now Grew, and she moved to Priory Street, Indooroopilly. Arthur’s mother Mary died in 1918.

Arthur’s elder brother, Sir Cecil Henry Foott CMG. CB., had a distinguished military career in the War. He was a professional soldier who attained the rank of Brigadier General and was knighted in the field by the King.

Courtesy of Ian Lang

Mango Hill



Key Photograph 1 Australian Pioneer Battalion, AIF - White square colour patch for 1 Australian Pioneer Battalion, AIF, with a purple square superimposed in the centre  - -Australian War Memorial  - RELAWM13307.141

Notes: Next of Kin was his wife Grace Olivia Foott of Graceville Queensland

His mother Mary Hannay Foott was an Australian poet best remembered for the poem Where the pelican builds.

Brigadier General Cecil Henry Foott CB,CMG, MID (7) Serbian Order of the White Eagle (4th class)Arhtur's only brother surviced the war and returned to Australia in 1919.

For further information search C H Foott on this site.

For further reading about Arthur please use links to the left of this page