The Great War: Colourful tribute to war hero son of Harrogate vicar

tis  The window in St Peter's Church dedicated to the Foote brothers.  (140317M3a)
tis The window in St Peter's Church dedicated to the Foote brothers. (140317M3a)

The Harrogate Advertiser series is marking 100 years since the outbreak of the First World War with features taking a look back at how the conflict affected the lives of those across the district.

This week we look at the story of Harrogate’s Major Trevor Mawdsley Foote.

The son of one of Harrogate’s longest serving vicars was immortalised in a stained glass window after his death in Ypres in 1917.

tis  The window in St Peter's Church dedicated to Major Foote.  (140317M3b)

tis The window in St Peter's Church dedicated to Major Foote. (140317M3b)

Major Trevor Mawdsley Foote’s face is depicted in an unusual window in St Peter’s Church in Harrogate.

His father, The Rev Lundy Edward William Foote, was vicar at St Peter’s for more than 50 years from when the church opened in 1870 until 1922.

The window is among many at St Peter’s Church which depict ordinary people.

The Rev Tony Shepard said: “Most of the windows are memorial windows and they were all put in place before the Second World War.

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Newspaper cuttings pic6

“They are unusual and I have never seen anything like it anywhere else.

“We are really proud of them and the stories behind the windows.”

History buff and medal collector Richard Steel researched Major Foote’s story after acquiring his medals at a sale.

He said: “This is a touching and very sad story of an officer loved by all that knew him and of extraordinary care that he had for his men.

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Newspaper cuttings pic8

“Major Trevor Mawdsley Foote died in the carnage of Ypres in 1917.

“His father, The Rev L.E.W Foote, had the glass commissioned as a permanent way of seeing his beloved son each day as he prayed and went about his business in the church.”

Mr Steel researched Major Foote’s background and discovered he enlisted in October 1914 with the Gordon Highlanders but soon transferred to the Loyal North Lancs Regiment, serving with the Expeditionary force.

He was severely wounded at Vimy Ridge in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region of France whilst leading his men in a bayonet charge and spent several months in hospital in France before being returned to England.

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Newspaper cuttings pic7

Once he recovered he returned to France to rejoin his men.

Major Foote was killed in action at Ypres on July 10, 1917, whilst attempting to get his men under cover from German Shells.

Mr Steel has uncovered a letter written by Major Foote’s Colonel who describes him as an ‘inspiration’.

The letter reads: “I cannot tell you how much I regret his loss, its a great one to me personally and to the whole battalion.

“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.

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Newspaper cuttings pic5

“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 Vicar’s son’s war time story can also be followed through letters written to the Harrogate Herald almost 100 years ago.

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Newspaper cuttings pic2

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