Norman Waterhouse Booth

Born: 1876

Died: 6 November 1916

Norman Booth was the third son of Samuel and Emma Booth, born at Parramatta. An active player of cricket and lacrosse, he regularly conducted services and taught Sunday School at Anglican churches in Enmore, Chatswood, and Mosman and spent the rest of his spare time in service of the church and charitable institutions. He was 39 years old when he enlisted in June 1915 and, although a qualified accountant, had been studying for the Anglican ministry to formalise his church participation.

He chose to join the infantry rather than pursue a role as a military chaplain and applied for and was granted a commission into the 18th Battalion. Although too late to participate in the ANZAC operation at Gallipoli, he was sent to Egypt for a short time in charge of a company, and then went on to France. The 18th Battalion was involved in fighting around the French village of Pozières in July 1916. Here Lieutenant Booth was severely wounded by a gunshot to the head and neck. He spent a number of months in England to recuperate from this and a mild attack of appendicitis, but recovered completely.

As a result he was sent back to his battalion in France just as they were preparing to attack another village on the Somme, Flers. This time he would not return. He was killed in the course of the operation and was buried in a small scattering of graves near the battlefield.

A memorial window depicting the Good Shepherd was erected in St Clement's Church in Mosman with the inscription:

To the Glory of God and in lasting memory of Lieutenant Norman W Booth of the 19th Battalion who was killed in action in France on November 6th 1916. An indefatigable worker in this Parish. Erected by friends who mourn his loss.

Booth's grave was later moved to the AIF Burial Ground near Flers. His mother wrote that she was very pleased to hear that "this much loved son and brother is not very forgotten in his far away resting place".

Source: AWM, Last Post Ceremony

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