‘A gentleman of the old school’

Bill Foote at the Alnwick Remembrance parade in 2012.
Bill Foote at the Alnwick Remembrance parade in 2012.

A well-known and well-liked man, who lived at Embleton, Alnwick and Alnmouth, has died at the age of 94.

Bill Foote DFC passed away peacefully in Alnwick Infirmary on December 29, after an active retirement but following several years of ill health.

Bill Foote in his RAF uniform, circa 1944.

Bill Foote in his RAF uniform, circa 1944.

Born in Dunfermline, Scotland, Bill volunteered as a teenager to join the RAF, where he qualified as a Pilot Officer, in 1941.

He joined 77 Squadron with which he served until the end of the war flying, mainly, Halifax bombers.

In recognition of his service, he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, having completed 37 operations over Europe, plus six emergency missions in September 1944, carrying petrol in two-gallon jerry cans into Brussels Melsbroek for the use of the British 2nd tanks, which had run short of fuel while trying to relieve Arnhem.

In 1953, he brought his family to Northumberland and lived at Embleton for several years before moving to Alnwick.

Upon his retirement as a director of Hume Pipes in 1985, Bill and his wife, Vena, moved to Alnmouth where he could pursue his love of golf as an active member of the committee at Alnmouth Village Golf Club.

In retirement, he had many other interests and achievements as well as golf.

Bill was a talented watercolour artist, loved photography and regularly played another favourite sport of his – bowls.

As president of the 77th Squadron Association, he played a leading role in the development of a museum in memory of the Squadron at the former RAF base at Elvington, Yorkshire.

He also held various roles with the Royal British Legion, latterly as president of Alnmouth and District Branch, and supported Northumberland Branch of the Western Front Association.

In 2014, he published his memoirs of his time in the air force – Me, the RAF and 77 Squadron – through Wanney Books (www.wildsofwanney.co.uk)

Bill lived a long and full life. He was a gentleman of the old school and will be missed by his daughter Marion, son-in-law Barrie, grandsons Paul and Neil, great-granddaughters Abi and Ella, other family members and by his many, many friends from near and far.

His funeral will be held at St John’s Church, Alnmouth, on Monday (January 22), at 10.45am.