Benjamin Footman was born at Hanbury Wharf, Worcestershire in 1884. In 1911 he was working as a butler in Catsfield, Sussex when he married Julia Bartlett in Cheltenham. They moved to Somerset but by 1914 had moved to Fulbeck (where he was still a butler).
He signed up for the Army in Nov 15 but wasn’t mobilised until Jun1916. He joined 3rd Battalion, Lincolnshire Regiment and was soon made LCpl, probably because he’d previously served 20 months in the Worcestershire Regiment (presumably before he became a butler). He was training at the Lincolnshire Regiment depot at Grimsby in Oct 1917, though he seems to have been ill or injured during this time.
In Oct 1917 he was sent to Ireland and based at Blackrock Castle, Cork. On 3rd March 1918 he sailed from Folkestone to France, where he was transferred to 8th Battalion, North Staffordshire Regiment.
On 12th (or 15th) April 1918 he received a gunshot wound to the head. He was evacuated and sent to the Royal Victoria Military Hospital, Netley, near Southampton. Here he had several operations but the wound became infected and he died on 27th May. His body was sent by train to Leadenham station and he was buried in Fulbeck churchyard. The gravestone is of an unusual design, so it may be that his former employer paid for it before the Commonwealth War Graves Commission was set up.
Julia received a widows pension of 33/9d a week for herself and their 4 children. By the end of 1918 they’d moved to Cheltenham and were living at 6 Andover St. By 1920 her address was ‘Lincs’ Fairfield Rd., Leckhampton, Cheltenham; suggesting both that she hadn’t forgotten her connection with Fulbeck and that she’d been able to buy her own house.