BOOTH, George Albert
(Service number 46512)
|First Rank||Lance Corporal||Last Rank|
|Date||6 January 1890||Place of Birth||Oamaru|
|Date||6 January 1917||Age||27 years|
|Address at Enlistment||Edward Street, Timaru|
|Previous Military Experience||2nd Regimental Band - serving|
|Next of Kin||Mrs Lula Rebecca BOOTH (wife), Edward Street, Timaru|
|Religion||Church of England|
|Served with||NZ Armed Forces||Served in||Army|
|Body on Embarkation||New Zealand Expeditionary Force|
|Unit, Squadron, or Ship||24th Reinforcements, Auckland Infantry Regiment, A Company|
|Date||5 April 1917|
|Embarked From||Destination||Devonport, Devon, England|
|Other Units Served With|
|Last Unit Served With|
|Service Medals||British War Medal|
Award Circumstances and Date
Prisoner of War Information
|Date of Capture|
|Where Captured and by Whom|
|Actions Prior to Capture|
|PoW Serial Number|
|Date||21 October 1919||Reason|
Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses
Health inspector; musician
|Date||7 June 1978||Age||88 years|
|Place of Death||Hutt Hospital, Hutt Valley, Wellington|
|Memorial or Cemetery||Karori Crematorium, Wellington|
|New Zealand Memorials|
George Albert Booth was born on 6 January 1890 at Oamaru, the fourth son of Albert and Clara (née Underwood) Booth. Albert and Clara were both from England and married in 1874 at Oamaru. There six sons and six daughters were born to them. Albert died in December 1915 at Oamaru, and Clara in 1924. George became a plumber and moved from Oamaru to Timaru in about July 1908. He was working on the roof of the Timaru Technical School when he fell through to the bottom floor on 17 November 1908. Sustaining a fracture of his right thigh, he was promptly taken to hospital.
“A pleasant hour was spent in the 2nd Regimental Bandroom last night, the occasion being the making of several presentations. . . . . . . A third kind of presentation followed, two easy chairs being presented to Bandsman George Booth, on the occasion of his approaching marriage. Mr Schnack the conductor, made the several presentations, with a happy little speech suited to each case, and the recipients respectively replied, thanking their bandmates for their gifts and good wishes.” [Timaru Herald. 24 August 1915.] George married Lula Rebecca Wall on 25 August 1915 at St Mary’s Church, Timaru – “a pretty but quiet wedding”. “Both bride and bridegroom being well known in the district, they were the recipients of many handsome presents, and received many congratulatory telegrams.” Lula Wall was the youngest sister of William Arthur Wall who had served in the South African War and then was killed in action at Gallipoli on 8 May 1915. George’s brother, John Horner Booth, died of wounds on 15 May 1915 in Egypt, having been wounded at Gallipoli.
G. A. Booth enlisted on 6 January 1917 (his 27th birthday) at the Timaru Defence Office. He was serving with the 2nd Regimental Band. He was a member of the South Canterbury quota of the 26th Reinforcements which left Timaru for camp on 9 February. The usual speeches were given. At noon the men were entertained at luncheon by the ladies of the Patriotic War Relief Society in Miss Read’s Stafford Tea Rooms, members of the Savage Club providing music and song. He named his wife as next-of-kin – Mrs Lula Rebecca Booth, Edward Street, Timaru. Lance Corporal G. A. Booth actually embarked with the Auckland Infantry Regiment of the 24th Reinforcements, leaving for Devonport, England by the “Devon” on 5 April 1917.
“Mrs Booth, Edward Street, has received advice from Base Records that Sergeant G. A. Booth will arrive in New Zealand on September 20 by the Hororata. Sergeant Booth has been attached to the New Zealand Band at Sling Camp and spent a portion of his time at Headquarters in London receiving special instruction in band matters generally. Sergeant Booth was also in charge of the band when that headed the procession past Buckingham Palace some few months ago.” [Timaru Herald, 21 August 1919.] Sergeant G. A. Booth returned to New Zealand by the “Hororata” which was due at Wellington on or about 30 September 1919. He actually reached Timaru by the express from Christchurch on the afternoon of 22 September. The soldiers who returned were given a hearty welcome. The Deputy-Mayor “congratulated the men on their achievements, offered them the thanks of the whole community for what they had done, and wished them a speedy return to good health.” He called for cheers from the assembled crowd, and these were given with great heartiness. Discharged on 21 October 1919, he was awarded the British War Medal.
“Twelve applications were received for the position of sanitary inspector, and Sergeant G. A. Booth was appointed. Sergeant Booth is a returned soldier, a registered plumber, married, and 29 years of age.” [Timaru Herald, 23 September 1919.] Mr G. A. Booth’s involvement in the local music scene continued apace. He entertained with instrumental solos (bassoon); playing solo horn with the Second (S.C.) Regimental Band; tutoring and conducting the newly-formed Senior Cadet Military Band [5 January 1927]. He was also very busy as the Timaru Borough Council’s Sanitary Inspector and in his own plumbing business which he purchased in 1920. “From eleven applicants, the Timaru Borough Council have appointed Mr G. A. Booth (who is a registered plumber) to the position of Sanitary Inspector of the Borough, in place of Mr Freeman, resigned. The salary is £286 per annum. Mr Booth was formerly Sanitary Inspector of the Borough, but left five or six years ago to go into business on his own account as a plumber.” [Timaru Herald, 1 October 1925.]
In 1933 Mr G. A. Booth was elected to the Timaru South School committee. George and Lula had two sons – Clarence Albert Booth born on 27 June 1922 at “Whare Nana”, Bidwill Street, and Norman Edwin Booth born on 24 December 1924 at “Whare Nana”. He served as honorary secretary for the South Canterbury School Committees’ Association.
“Out of thirty-nine applicants Mr. George Albert Booth, A.R.San.I, who for the past nine years has been in the employ of the Timaru Borough, Council, was appointed last evening to fill the vacancy caused by the retirement of Mr. W. B. Gough from the position of sanitary and borough inspector to the Petone Borough Council. Though Mr. Gough does not retire until February, Mr. Booth will commence his duties in December.” [Evening Post. 30 October 1934.] “The staff of the Timaru Borough Council met on Saturday morning to say farewell to Mr G. A. Booth, who for the last nine years has been sanitary inspector at Timaru and who leaves on Friday to take up a similar appointment with the Petone Borough Council. In presenting Mr Booth with a suitably inscribed fountain pen and pencil on behalf of the staff, the Town Clerk (Mr E. A. Killick), referred to the good feeling that had always existed between Mr Booth and other members of the staff, and congratulated the departing officer on his promotion. The Borough Engineer (Mr T. O. Fox) also spoke as to Mr Booth’s many good qualities and wished him every success in his new appointment. Mr Booth made suitable acknowledgment of the gifts and thanked the staff for the kind expressions that had accompanied them. Mr Booth was also met by representatives of the South African War Veterans’ Associations and was presented with a cigarette lighter in appreciation of his services in a musical capacity at the Association’s annual re-unions for some years.” [Timaru Herald. 3 December 1934.]
“The valuable services given to the Timaru Orchestral Society by Mr G. A. Booth — who leaves to-day to take up an appointment at Petone — as a playing member since the inception of the orchestra nine years ago and as a member of the committee for two years, were recognised by members at a gathering last evening when the president (Mr G. H. Andrews), on behalf of members, presented Mr Booth with a silver wristlet watch. Mr Andrews said that Mr Booth, had been one of the most versatile musicians in Timaru, and in addition to his valuable work for the orchestra his talents had always been available for charitable concerts and entertainments. The orchestra could ill afford to lose such an enthusiastic member. He wished Mr and Mrs Booth every success at Petone. The conductor (Mr W. H. Osborne) described Mr Booth as a valued member of the community, who had done a vast amount of good work, especially in musical circles. He had played the oboe with marked success in the orchestra. Similar tributes were paid by Messrs H. S. Moore, A. J. Allport and A. G. Williamson, the secretary (Mr P. W Rule) reading a letter of appreciation which he had been directed to hand to Mr Booth from the committee. In acknowledging the gift Mr Booth assured the gathering that anything he had done for the orchestra was through his love for music. His association with the orchestra had been most happy, and Mrs Booth and he would greatly regret their departure from the town.” [Timaru Herald. 7 December 1934.]
“Mr G. A. Booth has been selected as bandmaster of the New Zealand Air Force Band. He is a member of the staff of the Petone Borough Council and holds a Kneller Hall certificate. He began his musical career at the age of 11 in the old Oamaru Garrison Band. Later he was a member of the Timaru Regimental Band and during the war was band-sergeant of the Sling Military Band. On his return to New Zealand he was conductor of the Waimate Silver Band before establishing the Timaru Cadet Band.” [Timaru Herald. 9 August 1935.] In the mid-1950s, George became a professional musician. Even after retirement, he again recorded himself as a musician.
When Mr Albert Booth died in December 1915, three of his sons had gone to the front, one of them losing his life. Lance Corporal John Horner Booth (third son), who left for Suez in October 1914, was reported wounded at the Dardanelles in May 1915; he died of his wounds on 15 May 1915. Sergeant-Major Frederick Underwood Booth (second son), saw service in South Africa and left for Suez in October 1914. Private Reuben Charles Booth (fifth son) also left in October 1914, with the Medical Corps. April 1917 was the turn of Lance Corporal George Albert Booth (fourth son); and in June 1918 Corporal Walter Reginald Booth (youngest son, known as Reginald) left for England. Five of the six sons of Albert and Clara Booth served in World War One. All five are honoured on St Luke’s Anglican Church, Oamaru, War Memorial – John H. on one of the glazed tile panels which record the names of congregation members who lost their lives serving overseas; and Fred, George, Reuben and Reginald on the wooden tablet which lists the names of soldiers who returned.
George Albert Booth died on 7 June 1978 at Hutt Hospital, aged 88 years, and was cremated at Karori Crematorium, Wellington. Lula had died in February 1972 and was also cremated at Karori.
Auckland War Memorial Museum Cenotaph Database [09 September 2022]; NZ BDM Indexes (Department of Internal Affairs) [10 September 2022]; North Otago Times, 18 November 1908, Oamaru Mail, 18 November 1908, 11 May 1915, 19 November 1915, Timaru Herald, 24 & 28 August 1915, 25 September 1915, 8 January 1917, 7 February 1917, 21 August 1919, 23 September 1919 [x 2], 1 October 1925, 5 January 1927, 1 & 23 November 1934, 3 & 7 December 1934, 9 August 1935, Evening Post, 30 October 1934 (Papers Past) [16 August 2022; 18 September 2022]; Karori Crematorium record (Wellington City Council) [18 September 2022]; St Luke’s Church, Oamaru, War Memorial (https://nzhistory.govt.nz/media/photo/st-lukes-church-memorials) [18 September 2022]
Researched and Written by
Teresa Scott, SC Genealogy Society
Currently Assigned to
Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License unless otherwise stated.
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