b. 05/12/1904 Ishapore, India. d. 11/11/1993 Pulborough, Sussex.
Foote was born in Ishapore, India the son of Henry Bruce Foote, a major in the Royal Artillery, and his wife Jennie Elizabeth. He was the grandson of the geologist Robert Bruce Foote. His mother died when he was a child and he went to England to board at St Cyprian's School, Eastbourne at the age of four. In 1918 he went to Bedford School where he stayed until 1923.
He joined Royal Tank Corps in 1925. He was a Staff Officer from 1939 to 1942 and a member of the British Army Staff Mission, Washington, DC USA in 1941. In 1942 he became Officer Commanding, 7th Royal Tank Regiment and it was in this post that he won the Victoria Cross at the Battle of Gazala. After a spell as General Staff Officer at Allied Forces Headquarters in 1944, he became Second in Command, 9th Armoured Brigade in 1945. He was Brigadier of the Royal Armoured Corps, Middle East Land Forces from 1945 to 1947 and then Officer Commanding 2nd Royal Tank Regiment from 1947 to 1948. He was at the Fighting Vehicles Proving Establishment, at the Ministry of Supply from 1948 to 1949 and commanded the 7th Armoured Brigade from 1949 to 1950 and the 11th Armoured Division from 1950 to 1953. He was Director General of Fighting Vehicles at the Ministry of Supply from 1953 to 1955 and Director, Royal Armoured Corps, at the War Office from 1955 until his retirement in 1958 as Major General.
Foote was 37 years old, and a temporary lieutenant colonel in the 7th Royal Tank Regiment, British Army, during the Second World War when the following deed took place for which he was awarded the VC.
During the period 27 May/15 June 1942 in Libya, Lieutenant Colonel Foote commanded his battalion with outstanding courage and leadership, always being at the crucial point at the right time. On 6 June, although wounded, he continued to lead his battalion from an exposed position on the outside of a tank, and succeeded in defeating the enemy's attempt to encircle two Allied divisions. On 13 June, when a number of Allied tanks had been destroyed, he went on foot, "from one tank to another, to encourage the crews under intense artillery and anti-tank fire". By "his magnificent example the corridor was kept open and the Brigade was able to march through".
LOCATION OF MEDAL: ROYAL TANK REGIMENT MUSEUM, BOVINGTON, DORSET.
BURIAL PLACE: ST MARYS CHURCHYARD, WEST CHILTINGTON, SUSSEX.
Henry Foote's medals including his VC on display at the Royal Tank Regiment Museum, Bovington, Dorset
(Picture courtesy of Terry Cooling).
The reverse of Foote's VC courtesy of the Tank Museum.
Royal Military Academy Sandhurst
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