b. 05/05/1904 Madoc, Ontario, Canada. d. 02/05/1988 Cobourg, Ontario, Canada.
John Weir Foote was born in Madoc in eastern Ontario on May 5, 1904. He was educated at the University of Western Ontario in London, at Queen's University in Kingston and at Presbyterian College and McGill University in Montreal. He entered the Presbyterian ministry in 1934, serving congregations in Fort-Coulonge, Quebec, and Port Hope, Ontario.
In December 1939, after the outbreak of the Second World War, he enlisted in the Canadian Army. He was posted to The Royal Hamilton Light Infantry (Wentworth Regiment) (RHLI) as the Regimental Chaplain with the rank of Honorary Captain.
Foote was 38 years old and serving as the padre of the RHLI, when he performed the following deed during the Dieppe Raid for which he was awarded the Victoria Cross.
Upon landing on the beach under heavy fire he attached himself to the Regimental Aid Post which had been set up in a slight depression on the beach, but which was only sufficient to give cover to men lying down. During the subsequent period of approximately eight hours, while the action continued, this officer not only assisted the Regimental Medical Officer in ministering to the wounded in the Regimental Aid Post, but time and again left this shelter to inject morphine, give first-aid and carry wounded personnel from the open beach to the Regimental Aid Post. On these occasions, with utter disregard for his personal safety, Honorary Captain Foote exposed himself to an inferno of fire and saved many lives by his gallant efforts. During the action, as the tide went out, the Regimental Aid Post was moved to the shelter of a stranded landing craft. Honorary Captain Foote continued tirelessly and courageously to carry wounded men from the exposed beach to the cover of the landing craft. He also removed wounded from inside the landing craft when ammunition had been set on fire by enemy shells. When landing craft appeared he carried wounded from the Regimental Aid Post to the landing craft through very heavy fire.
On several occasions this officer had the opportunity to embark but returned to the beach as his chief concern was the care and evacuation of the wounded. He refused a final opportunity to leave the shore, choosing to suffer the fate of the men he had ministered to for over three years.
Honorary Captain Foote personally saved many lives by his efforts and his example inspired all around him. Those who observed him state that the calmness of this heroic officer, as he walked about, collecting the wounded on the fire-swept beach will never be forgotten.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: RHLI MUSEUM, HAMILTON, ONTARIO, CANADA.
BURIAL PLACE: UNION CEMETERY, COBOURG, ONTARIO, CANADA.
Medals courtesy of the Curator of the Highland Light Infantry Museum