Was he at Jutland: Frank Foot

From Battle of Jutland Crew Lists Project


Email Tuesday, 30 Oct 2018, 23:26

I understand that my ancestor Frank Foot, born Up Cerne, Dorset 1889 was at the Battle of Jutland. I would be very proud if he was there but I have been unable to trace his ship and service info.

If you help at all, I would be very grateful.

For your background info I understand he deserted from the British Army and emigrated to New Zealand, later he joined the navy.

Very many thanks

Mark Foot

Email Wednesday, 31 Oct 2018, 22:23

" the family bible shows one year earlier than his service record card and I believe it should be the date on the bible. His name was just Frank Foot."

Information from family Bible

Email Thursday, 1 Nov 2018, 19:09

"A number of older members of the family advised that he was at the battle but I have no proof and I would love to know if he was there or if they were mistaken. "

Email Friday 11 Oct 2019, 17:00

A couple of years ago I contacted you as a relation I strongly believed to be at Jutland. Although various family members have been confident of his participation it appears that so far nothing is proving that he was there.

Frank Foot was born in Up Cerne, Dorset 1889 and I understand the he either deserted or similar from the army and moved to New Zealand. There was a amnesty for deserters and he joined the New Zealand Navy. After the war he returned to NZ. I believe he was not injured at the battle.

If I can provide any additional information then please ask.

Kind regards

Mark Foot

Email Tuesday 15 Oct 2019, 12:14

I notice that I recorded that when he was struck off the army he had failed to attend camp for 27 days.
Mark Foot

Email Thursday 17 Oct 2109, 15:50

I am not sure how reliable but I have come across a ship that I believed Frank was on. It was the Centurion. I believe the name was given to me years ago by the family.
Mark Foot

Additional Notes

(TP) To date it has not been possible to confirm whether Frank Foot was at the Battle of Jutland as a further service record has not been able to be found. There also appears to be a discrepancy between the Army and Navy dates.

(KH) There was a New Zealand "Division" of the RNVR. The RNZN did not come into existence until 1941.
There are some records for NZ sailors in the NZ archives, but not a great deal.
It makes no sense as to why he would have been given a "British" RNVR service number.
Saying that, though, this is what TNA have stated about his prefix: PZ Crystal Palace (entered from civilian life or from the Royal Navy)

(KH) held in Archives New Zealand, Wellington Office - Frank Foot - Able Seaman, Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve, No.ZP2006 (R21087606)

Notes from GC

There are three Frank Foots born in Dorset about this time:
(1) registered in Sherborne 1888Q4
(2) registered in Dorchester 1889Q2 (mmn: Thorne)
(3) registered in Dorchester 1889Q4 (mmn: Clark)
(there is also a (4) Frank Foot (b. 1887) in Poole, Dorset, son of George and Jane - but he is further away)
From the 1891 census information, and matching the marriage records:
(2) is the son of George and Mary Ann (nee Thorn(e)), living at Up Cerne Wood.  (= Our RNVR man - and the 1905 attestation also relates to him)
(3) is the son of John and Jane (nee Clark), living at Woodsford Heath, Dorchester
(1) is the son of Ellen Foot (widow) at Newell Hill, Sherborne

The Army record for 23867 Private Frank Foot has an age of 27 yrs and 288 days on his discharge on 4 Jul 1916 - which would give him a DoB in 1888Q4.  His intended place of residence on discharge is Victoria St Sherborne (married to Ethel in 1914, son Frank born Feb 1915)- so this is almost certainly (1).  The 1939 register has him lodging in Higher Newland, Sherborne as a widower DoB 5 Oct 1888 occupation- scaffolder.  These records can therefore be removed from our thinking.

Looking at the RND record for Frank Foot Z.P/2006, there is a clear mention on the back that in Sep 1915 he was drafted from Palace Division to HMS Victory I for service with the Grand Fleet.  This would suggest that he had a better than evens chance of being on one of the Jutland ships.  For most of the RNVR men, there is an ADM337 record which gives details of their individual ship drafts.   The sub-group ADM337/64 covers Palace Division but there is a gap between Z/1999 and Z/2100.  I don't know whether this is a genuine gap in records, or just that a chunk missed out on digitising? - perhaps one to take up at TNA?  I've searched Discovery on most combos I can think of and nothing comes up.

A draft to Victory suggests to me a Portsmouth-based ship, whereas his HMS Vivid cap tally points further west.  I don't know if all ex-RND were processed through Victory, or if this another aspect of the puzzle?

His wedding photo almost has the cap tally legible but not quite - but I can't match it to any known ship names with any confidence. The 3 chevrons of the same colour suggest 1915/1916/1917 completed and therefore the picture some time in 1918.  It's quite possible the he stayed in the same ship through this time.

Overall then, my hunch would be that the family story about him being at Jutland probably has some mileage, and it might point to a small bunch of missing records.

(RD has much more expertise on RNR/RNVR - I don't know if he can add anything?)

Notes from RD

I'm inclined to agree with the others, that the Army records are a red herring and for a different man, even if it was the same man (say deserting the Navy in 1915 before joining the Army and rejoining afterwards in 1916 the dates would rule out Jutland Service, personally I think it's a different guy as the soldier was discharged on medical grounds)
The Frank Foot in the photos has the 3 chevrons, as KH pointed out and it's likely that his service records would confirm or disprove the Jutland connection if only they had survived.
Probably worth chasing TNA as GC suggests in case they were just missed from digitising (I'd guess a box of 100 records was either lost or just failed to get digitised)

Frank Foot Medal Allocation

New Zealand Online Cenotaph Entry

Frank Foot


27 April 1889 Date of Birth

Date of birth: 27 April 1889 although his service card gives a date of birth of 27 April 1890

Service Card Page 1
Service Card Page 2

2 March 1906 Attestation Dorset Regiment

Official number 5135 Dorset Regiment
2 March 1906 17 years 11 months old.

Attestation Dorset Regiment

4 June 1915 Date of Entry RND

The date of entry is taken from his service card (Service Card Page 1 & 2). This is also available on The National Archives website here.
His official number was Z.P/2006. There is also a record on the 'Lives of the First World War' project here or on FindMyPast here.

4 September 1915 Rating

His service card shows 'Rating 4.9.15'

7 September 1915 Drafted to Grand Fleet

His service card shows:
7.9.15 Drafted from Cryat1. "Palace" to H.M.S. 'Victory I" for duty with the Grand Fleet. 1095.
Cannot find service record detailing the ships that he was on from 7.9.15

Undated photo of Frank Foot with HMS Vivid Cap Tally
Frank Foot with HMS Vivid Cap Tally

22 November 1915 Attestation Devon Regiment
Attestation Devon Regiment

22 November 1915 Enlistment Devon Regiment

Details from the Silver War Badge register and available here.

Silver War Badge for Frank Foot

Name: Frank Foot
Discharge Unit: Devon Regt.
Regiment: Devonshire Regiment
Regimental Number: 23867
Rank: Private
Badge Number: 260435
Piece: 3019
List Number: C 0001/1-0300/2
Record Group: WO
Record Class: 329

4 July 1916 Army Discharge

Service number 23867 - there is an entry on the 'Lives of the First World War' project that indicates that the record was generated from his medal index card.
He was discharged from The Devonshire Regiment on 4 July 1916 the reason being given as "not being likely to become an efficient Soldier" Para 392 (iii)(c) KR

The details of Para 392 (iii)(c) Kings Regulations are:
(iii) Not being likely to become and efficient soldier -
(c) Recruit within three months of enlistment considered unfit for service.

Army Discharge
WW1 Medal Rolls

1918 Wedding Day

Frank Foot in navy uniform (not possible to read his cap tally)

(KH) Interesting to see three chevrons on his sleeve in his wedding photo, which begs the question as to how he has an Army service record.

Frank and Rose Foot (nee Palmer)


Returning Soldiers Otago Daily Times, 30 June 1919
Frank Foot (and wife), Able Seaman, Christchurch.

11 December 1945 Died

Died 11 December 1945, interred in Soldiers' Portion Bromley Cemetery
Block 3G RSA. Plot 6

Memorial Card