Rank Corporal
Service No 66
Date of Death 03/05/1915
Age 26
Regiment/Service London Regiment (London Rifle Brigade) 1st/5th Battalion.
Memorial Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial. This commemorates by name all those who perished in the Salient and have ‘no known grave’. On the panels are displayed, unit by unit, with ranks and bravery awards, the names of more than 54,000 of the ‘missing’.

 

Arthur was born in Finchley in 1889 to Edward (1860-1937) and Henrietta Louisa Booth, nee Mills (1857-1927). Although the family were living in Nottingham in 1891 (Edward was born in Eastwood, just 8 miles from the city), they returned to Finchley, where they would remain until the end of the war.

Arthur had four older siblings, Dorothy (b.1883), Murphy (b.1884), William Leslie (1886-1915), and Howard Edwin (b.1888). In 1901 the family were living at 1 Hendon Lane, Finchley and in 1911 at Rosebank, Regents Park Road, Finchley. By now Arthur was an accountant. His father's occupation was 'agent (coal)'.

Arthur’s battalion were in action in the Second Battle of Ypres in April-May 1915 during which time they lost 16 officers and 392 men, including Sydney Legg, who is listed on the St Paul’s Finchley memorial and died on the same day as Arthur. Arthur’s estate was valued at £110 5s 8d which he left to Howard, his youngest brother, who was a surveyor.

Arthur’s brother, William, a Captain in the 6th (City of London) Battalion, the London Regiment (Rifles) died of wounds 25 days after him and is also remembered on the St Luke’s roll of honour. At the time of their deaths, their parents were living at 17 Holmwood Gardens, Finchley, just one minute’s walk from St Luke’ Finchley in Mountfield Road.

The June 1915 edition of the St Luke’s monthly magazine lists Arthur’s death, stating that he was killed in action, and goes on to say: “He was ‘the youngest son of  Mr and Mrs Edwin Booth of Holmwood Gardens. His whole live has been spent in Finchley, where he has always been loved by a large circle of friends. He had a bright sunny open nature and excelled in sport. His father has assisted in the choir from the commencement of the Church. Our prayers and sympathies will be with the family, and we trust the brother, Capt. Leslie Booth, who is also at the Front, will be mercifully spared.” Unfortunately, this was not to be, for in the very next edition of the magazine, published in July 1915, the Revd S W Howe, Vicar’s letter says:

‘The congregation has felt very deep sympathy with Mr and Mrs Booth and family in the loss of their two sons, one on May 3rd and the other on May 28th. The latter was wounded at Festubert and died within a few days at Boulogne. His young wife was permitted to come over to see him, but arrived too late. His family bear the losses with courage, and I think the last letter which was received from Captain Leslie Booth has been a help to the family. It was written on the receipt of the news of this brother’s death and by the kindness of his parents I am permitted to insert it in this magazine, which I do, in the hope that it may be a help to others who may have to mourn for sons or brothers or husbands.

Extract of letter from Captain Leslie Booth to his mother, written from France shortly before his own death:

“The news of Maynard’s death has made me very, very sad, but I am helped, and I feel that your sorrow will be lessened by the feeling that he has died in the finest way a man can, for a purpose, and for his own country which is a privilege for an Englishman.

You must try hard not to worry too much, but to feel proud, both you and Father, that you have given one of your dearest and have had a son who accepted his responsibilities to the uttermost limit.

Over here it is a rare sight to see a woman of France who has not suffered by the loss of father, son or brother and they seem almost happy that they have done their share.

You can hardly credit the respect which our British soldiers have for the women of this country, and this I am sure in memory of their own women back at home.

It is hard for a man who may be gone at any moment to do his work as he should unless he feels that his mother or wife will take the loss if he falls as a necessary part of the war’s toll. I know that you will all feel very proud of dear old Maynard, as proud as I do, so let us all let our sorrow be equalled by our gladness that we have given our best.

I was intensely fond and proud of Maynard and we have worked together for so long without a difference or quarrel which was, I know, on account of his sweet and reasonable disposition.  

I have this week lost a dear friend I had made in one of my officers (I now command a company of 240) who was shot a few yards from me and we buried him in a little cemetery we had made for several more of our men. The graves are planted with little plants and I know that the same loving care will be given to Maynard’s last resting place.

I have heard from D. that she has been to see you and she says that she knows now why we are all so proud of you. I hope it will be possible for me to come through alright, but death is always only an instant ahead of us and if I should join Maynard I know you will show her how to be brave as you are.

Please give my love to Father and cheer him up. He, no doubt, has friends who are suffering by the loss of sons too and will feel almost glad to bear a common burden.

Goodbye now, mother dear, with very much love.

Your loving Son,

Leslie”