Biddulph & District Genealogy & Historical Society Biddulph Grange

Biddulph and the Great War

'There Shall Be In That Rich Earth A Richer Dust Concealed'

'We Will Remember Them'

Private John Thomas Booth

3333 1st/5th Bn. North Staffordshire Regiment died on October 13th 1915 Age 21

John Thomas Booth was born circa 1894, the son of Joseph Booth an iron worker and his wife, Ann Marie. Both of his parents originated from Buglawton but John was born in Biddulph. He was the youngest of eight children. His early years were spent in the Lodge Barn area as his family resided there at the time of the 1891, 1901 and 1911 censuses. They were later to move down into the village as by 1914, at the time of enlistment, the family lived at 177, John Street. By 1911 John’s occupation was given as coal miner and on enlistment he stated that he worked at Chatterley Whitfield.

John Thomas was another soldier who joined the army soon after the war commenced. His surviving service records tell us he enlisted into a local regiment at Biddulph on September 11th 1914. Training was initially at Butterton before moving to Bishop’s Stortford and leaving for France on June 27th 1915, as a draft attached to 46th North Midlands Division.

It is believed he first went to Belgium in July before moving south, where his battalion, the 1/5th North Staffords were to fight in the Battle of Loos. This battle was fought amongst the mining villages of northern France, not dissimilar to north Staffordshire.

This was no home from home for on the afternoon of October 13th the North Staffords met their darkest day.

The 1/5th North Staffords were one of the battalions of 46 Division who were ordered to attack the Hohenzollern Redoubt in an attempt to retake this strong German defence. October 13th was certainly a black day for North Staffordshire. The attack was a blind assault across no-man’s land; the men left their trenches but immediately ran into murderous machine gun fire, with many of the North Stafford men being shot down.

Sadly on that afternoon 1/5th Battalion had over 500 casualties, with 219 killed in action including Private Booth – one of eight brave Biddulph men to fall that day. John Thomas Booth fell in battle and it is believed, as his headstone states, that he was recovered from the battlefield and now rests in the St Mary&rdsquo;s ADS Cemetery at Haisnes along with a local pal, James Casey, of the same battalion.

The words on his headstone read: Their Glory shall not be blotted out.

Joseph and Ann must have been devastated to lose their youngest child. A letter, sent from Joseph, in January 1916 requesting information on personal belongings recovered, still survives. There is no evidence that anything was returned.

In May 1919 an attempt was made, presumably by the War Office, to locate the whereabouts of John’s parents and surviving correspondence from the local police constable sadly reports that his parents “now reside at Meadow Style Hospital, Brown Lees”.

A list of all the medals awarded to the men of the Biddulph area has been compiled and can be viewed here.


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