Rank: Sergeant
Service Number: 230547.
Regiment: 10th (Shropshire and Cheshire Yeomanry) Bn. Kings Shropshire Light Infantry Killed In Action Thursday 22nd August 1918 Age 29County Memorial Congleton
Commemorated\Buried LOOS MEMORIAL
Grave\Panel Ref: Panel 98 and 99.

Son of Mr. Joseph Booth and Mrs. Jane Booth, of 13, Union Street, Congleton, Cheshire and husband of Mrs. Mary Jane Booth (nee Tomkinson), of 1 Rood Hill, Congleton, who he married at Waggs Street Methodist Church, in 1912. In 1901 he was living with his uncle Samuel Spears at 71, Ford Lane, Coppenhall, Crewe, Cheshire. He had two sisters, Mary Ann and Dora Booth, along with two brothers, Harry and Wilfred Booth. In 1911, he was employed as a Waggoner on a Farm, by Mr. Taylor, a farmer from Hulme Walfield, Cheshire.

Sergeant Frank Booth enlisted in the 1/1St Cheshire Yeomanry, which in March 1917 merged with the 1/1St Shropshire Yeomanry to form the 10th (Shropshire and Cheshire Yeomanry) Battalion of the King's Shropshire Light Infantry and came under the orders of the 231st Brigade, in the 74th (Yeomanry) Division. On the 3rd of March 1918, the Division received a warning order to leave Palestine and moved to France. It was relieved on the 7/9th of March and marched back to Lydda. Embarkation began at Alexandria on the 29th of April, Landing at Marseilles on the 7th of May 1918, moving by train for the north, eventually arriving in the area of Rue (near Abbeville) by the 18th of May. After training for unfamiliar operations, notably gas defence before the end of May, they moved to the Doullens St POI area. On the 14th of July the Battalion took over a sector of front-line near Merville.

For most of August 1918, the Battalion was resting away from the front line but on the 21st, it moved back into the trenches at St Floris (approximately 15 kilometres north of the French town of Bethune). The next day orders were received at very short notice to move forward in conformity with a general advance of the British line, north of the Lys Canal. The advance by some other battalions became stalled and without any orders to the contrary, The Shropshire's continued to move forward into what would prove to be a trap. The Regimental History records advancing through high standing corn" the Battalion continued until within a few hundred yards of the concealed enemy, who met them with a devastating fire from carefully prepared positions. He then followed up his advantage with a determined counter-attack and severe hand-to-hand fighting took place. The Battalion was eventually forced back to the starting point. The enemy made no attempt to press home the counter-attack. Sergeant Frank Booth was one of 58 to be killed in the fighting.

Extract from the Congleton Chronicle 1918.

In the fight for liberty and freedom many Congleton soldiers have made the supreme sacrifice and another name was recently added to this grand Roll of Honour in that of Sergeant Frank Booth of the Shropshire Light Infantry of Rood Hill, Congleton. Popular with the rank and file he was a typical British soldier and had won the high esteem and appreciation of the whole of his comrades. The sad news of his death was received by his many friends in Congleton and the deep sympathy of all will go out to the widow in her sad bereavement. His wife has received the following letters of sympathy.

Dear, Mrs. Booth,                                                                                                                                24th August 1918.

It is with sincerest sympathy and deep sorrow that I take the liberty of writing to you to inform you that your husband Frank was killed in action on Friday morning the 23rd of August 1918. He had only the previous day returned from hospital, having caught a chill, the last time but one the Battalion was in the trenches. I was speaking to him the night before he was killed, and we were talking about leave and how soon it would come our turn. Frank was in command of the platoon, his platoon officer being on leave. Everybody liked him, he was a splendid chap, as straight as a gun barrel and a fine soldier. All the boys who are left join with me in sending you and Frank's father, our sincerest sympathy. Unfortunately, our old Major (Major Tomkinson) has left us or else, I am sure he would have written to you. He was fond of Frank. In conclusion Mrs. Booth allow me once again, to tender to you on behalf of the whole Company our deepest and most sincere sympathy in your sad loss and hard and almost cruel as it is for you, remember, even though it is hard to say, Gods will be done. When God calls me I can only leave behind me such an upright and noble character as Frank has left behind him. Truly, he was a just and honourable man.

                 Yours, Sincerely, Ever in sympathy,             Charlie Hampson, (one of his old pals.)

Dear, Mrs, Booth,                                                                                                                                    27th August 1918.

I regret to have to inform you that your husband, who was my platoon Sergeant, has been killed in action. I know how you must feel his loss, as all those who knew him do. He was regarded as one of the very best, popular and trusted by the men and relied on by the officers. You have the satisfaction of knowing he suffered no pain, he was killed outright with a bullet through the head.

Please accept my deepest sympathy, Yours sincerely,

Second Lieutenant, G. E. Hallowes.

Cheshire County Memorial Project would like to thank John and Christopher Pullen for this information on Frank.