No.1516 William Robert Booth
Willliams parents were Thomas Booth and Lavinia Beldam, and their children were:
- Thomas Henry Booth - born 1891 at Poowong (A.I.F.)
- William Robert Booth - born in 1893 at Poowong (A.I.F.) Died at Ypres in 1917.
- Emily Louisa "Louie" Booth - born 1895 at Poowong
- Edgar Jarvies Booth - born 1897 at Poowong
- John Isaac "Jack" Booth - born 1899 at Poowong (A.I.F.)
- Charles Beldam Booth - born 1902 at Benalla
- Leslie Norman "Les" Booth - born 1904 at Benalla
William Robert Booth was born in August 1893 at North Poowong, South Gippsland. He was just 21 years old when war was declared in August 1914.
He was a bachelor and worked as an engine driver. His father, Mr Thomas Booth - listed as next-of-kin on William Booth’s attestation papers – was living at Werribee.
He enlisted in the 7th Battalion in December 1914 that had been founded in Melbourne in the early weeks of the war by Lieutenant Colonel H.E. “Pompey” Elliot.
The bulk of the Battalion sailed for Egypt in early December to join the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force. It’s not known when Private William Booth joined his comrades, but it’s clear that by early May 1915 he was already in service on Gallipoli.
On 8 May 1915, he received what was described in his medical report as ‘half a dozen superficial wounds’ to his left leg caused by a bomb. However, amidst the heat, flies and filth of Gallipoli, the wounds soon became infected. He was evacuated from Gallipoli on 25 August 1915 aboard the auxiliary minesweeper HMS Clacton. The infection was so bad that he was soon sent to England for further treatment and didn’t rejoin his Battalion until March 1916 in Egypt.
By the end of the month, the 7th Battalion was in France sent in support of the British Expeditionary Force. They landed at Marseilles and headed towards the Somme.
On 21 April 1916, William Booth was promoted to Lance-Corporal. By early August, he had been promoted to 2nd Lieutenant.
The 7th Battalion first saw action in France at Pozieres in July and August 1916. It was then sent to Ypres in Belgium to support the British Expeditionary Forces (BEF), before heading back to the Somme valley later in the year.
In 1917, the Battalion saw action at Bullecourt as the BEF attempted to breach the Hindenburg Line. It also participated in Ypres offensive in September and October at Menin Road and Broodseinde.
By this time, William Booth had been promoted to Lieutenant and ironically, given the bomb wounds he had received at Gallipoli, an appointment as Bombing Officer.
On 4 October, 1917, Lieutenant William Robert Booth was killed.
He is one of 54,896 British and Commonwealth soldiers commemorated on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial who were killed on the Ypres Salient and whose place of burial remain unknown.
He was awarded the 1914-15 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal and his father, Mr Thomas Booth, received the memorial scroll, plaque and King’s Message that was sent to the next-of-kin of all Australian soldiers killed during the war.
Medals and Entitlements:
- 1914/15 Star
- British War Medal
- Victory Medal
Service record: NAA: B2455, Booth W
http://www.awm.gov.au/units/unit_11194.asp - 7th Battalion war history