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Bravery of Victoria Cross sergeant is honoured with memorial stone

PLEASE NOTE: licensed from Imperial War Museum; please credit

PLEASE NOTE: licensed from Imperial War Museum; please credit "copyright IWM". Frederick Booth, who was awarded the Victoria Cross for bravery on February 12 1917

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The "conspicuous bravery" of a 26-year-old sergeant in a First World War action 100 years ago has been commemorated with a new memorial stone in Islington.

Frederick Booth was born at 7 Davenant Road, Islington, on 6 March 1890. In February 1917 he was a sergeant in the South African Police, attached to the Rhodesia Native Regiment.

On 12 February 1917 he was involved in an attack on an enemy position in thick bush at Johannes Bruck, German East Africa, for which he would later be awarded the Victoria Cross.

Under very heavy rifle fire, he went forward alone to help a man who was badly wounded, and brought him back.  He also rallied troops from his regiment who had become badly disorganised, and brought them back into combat.

A supplement to the London Gazette on 8 June 1917, announcing his Victoria Cross award, said: "This NCO has on many occasions displayed the greatest bravery, coolness and resource in action, and has a splendid example of pluck, endurance and determination."

Yesterday (February 12) was the 100th anniversary of his bravery, and a new memorial stone commemorating his actions has been laid at Islington Memorial Green.  

Cllr Gary Poole, Islington Council's Armed Forces Champion, and Deputy Mayor Una O'Halloran laid a wreath in his memory at the memorial 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 also 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. We must also remember that young servicemen and servicewomen still put their lives on the line every day for this country."

Frederick Booth, who later attained the rank of captain, was awarded a Distinguished Conduct Medal for further bravery in the First World War.  He was later commissioned into the Middlesex Regiment and in 1939 served in the Auxiliary Military Pioneer Corps. He died in Brighton in 1960, aged 70, and is buried in Bear Road Cemetery, Brighton.

The memorial stone is the second of five which are being laid in Islington as part of the national Victoria Cross Paving Stones project, funded by the Department for Communities and Local Government.

In 2015 a stone was laid in memory of Frederick Parslow, a civilian sailor who was awarded the Victoria Cross for helping to save his ship from a U-boat attack.  Master Parslow was killed in the attack, but the ship's cargo of men and horses were rescued.  

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

For more information contact:

Chris Roe
Media Manager
020 7527 8751
Chris.Roe@islington.gov.uk

Laying Wreath - Frederick Booth.jpg

Cllr Gary Poole, Islington Council's Armed Forces Champion, and Deputy Mayor Cllr Una O'Halloran lay a wreath at the memorial paving stone for Frederick Booth, 100 years after he received the Victoria Cross for bravery on February 12 1917

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Memorial Stone - Frederick Booth.jpg

Memorial stone for Frederick Booth at Islington Memorial Green

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