William Leslie Booth

Captain William Leslie Booth City of London Rifles was the son of Edwin and Henrietta Booth of Finchley and the husband of Daisey Maud Booth of 8 Hillside Road, Bushey, Herts.

He died of wounds sustained at Festubert.

The Hendon & Finchley Times of 4 June 1915 reported:

“CAPT. WILLIAM LESLIE BOOTH. Last week it was our painful duty to record the death in action of Corpl. Arthur Maynard Booth, son of Mr. and Mrs. Edwin Booth, of 17, Holmwood-gardens, Church-end, Finchley. This week we have an equally painful task in having to record the loss of another son., Capt. William Leslie Booth, of the 6th City of London Rifles, who died in hospital at Boulogne on May 28th, from wounds sustained at Festubert, six days previoulsy.

A native of Finchley, the late officer, who was 29 years of age, was for several years captain and adjutant of the King’s Royal Rifle Cadet Corps, the efficiency of which was in no small measure due to his keen interest and enthusiasm. On the outbreak of war Captain Booth was transferred to the 6th City of London Rifles and proceeded to France about two months ago. Educated at Merchant Taylors School, he went into partnership with his brother in the firm of W.L. Booth and Booth, chartered accountants, of Finchley, and also of 125, High Holborn.

In sport the deceased officer took a keen interest. He was for several years hon. secretary of the Finchley Manor Football Club.”

The unit war diary recalls that on 22 May 1915 “the Germans began shelling the breastworks of the 6th at 5.30 in the morning and kept up the bombardment until 4.30 in the afternoon. Canadian wounded kept coming in from the trench in front, and the stretcher-bearers of the 6th were allowed no rest. Captain Booth and Lieutenant Garrod of the 6th were killed that day.” In fact Booth was mortally wounded and died later at Boulogne, leading to a conflict with the CWGC date.

A rifleman from his Company sent the following description to the Territorial Gazette (and is reprinted in Percy Hurd’s The Fighting Territorials Volume 2):

“The death of our Captain caused deep regret amongst the company. Always known to be a man who at the most dangerous and exciting moments remained cool and collected it seemed impossible for him to get flurried. I remember the last night he lived. We were expecting an attack by the Germans. He was sitting on a firing platform, calmly smoking a cigarette, and giving out orders to his officers and NCOs. His perfect demeanour gave his men confidence in him ; he always had a cheerful word for the man on the look out ; and his untimely death was a big blow to all.”

He was initiated into Sir Francis Burdett Lodge No 1503 in 1910.