IslingtonTribune

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War hero who risked his life to save soldier

Memorial stone pays tribute to WWI sergeant awarded VC for ‘extreme bravery’

17 February, 2017 — By Joe Cooper

Cllr Gary Poole and Deputy Mayor Una O’Halloran at the stone commemorating Frederick Booth, right

A 26-YEAR-OLD sergeant who displayed the “greatest bravery” in a World War I action has been commem­orated with a new memorial stone.

Frederick Booth, who was born in Davenant Road, Upper Holloway, in March 1890, risked his life to help a badly wounded comrade.

Booth was a sergeant in the South African Police, attached to the Rhodesia Native Regiment. On February 12, 1917, he was involved in an attack on an enemy position in thick bush at Johannesbruck, German East Africa, now Tanzania, for which he would later be awarded the Victoria Cross.

Under heavy rifle fire, Sgt Booth went forward alone to help the injured man and brought him back. He also rallied troops from his regiment who had become badly disorganised, and brought them back into combat.

An article in the London Gazette on June 8, 1917, announcing his Victoria Cross award, praised Sgt Booth for his “conspicuous bravery”.

It added: “This NCO has on many previous occasions displayed the greatest bravery, coolness and resource in action, and has set a splendid example of pluck, endurance and determination.”

A new memorial stone was laid at Islington Memorial Green to commemorate his bravery on Sunday, the 100th anniversary of his heroic actions.

Councillor Gary Poole, Islington Council’s armed forces champion, and Deputy Mayor Una O’Halloran laid a wreath in his memory at the stone.

Cllr Poole said: “In an act of extreme bravery, Sgt Booth risked his own life under heavy fire to rescue a badly wounded soldier. He managed to rally his soldiers in the heat of battle.

“This memorial stone is a lasting reminder of his courage 100 years ago, which is still remembered today.”

Later in 1917 he left for Britain, and was commissioned into the Middlesex Regiment with the rank of captain. In 1939, he served in the Auxillary Military Pioneer Corps.

He died in Brighton in 1960, aged 70, and is buried at Bear Road Cemetery there.

The memorial stone is the second of five being laid in Islington as part of the national Victoria Cross Paving Stones project. In June 2015, a stone was laid in memory of Frederick Parslow, a civilian sailor from Canonbury awarded the Victoria Cross for helping to save his ship from a U-boat attack in which he died.

Three more stones will be laid this year and in 2018.

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