Lewis Booth, Private 38160, 2nd Leeds Pals
Photo courtesy of York Army Museum
Lewis was born, according to his POW record, on 24th October 1882, at Wooldale, near Huddersfield. He was the fifth child and third son of George Henry Booth and Elizabeth Aspinall, who had married in 1876. They went on to have two more sons, though at some point there were two other children that died. The family then comprised Joe, Martha, Agnes, Wilson, Lewis, Frank and Ingham. They lived at Lane Bottom, Wooldale, Holmfirth, and do not appear to have moved. The 1911 Census gives a number, 70 Lane Bottom.
George Henry was a woollen weaver, and his children seemed to have followed the woollen trade once they were old enough. On the 1901 Census Lewis is given as a mill worker, and by 1911 he was a woollen and worsted weaver. He was also married and living at Bunker’s Hill, Holmfirth, with his wife Ann Tinker, whom he had married in Huddersfield in 1910.
When the war began Lewis was 31 and a married man, which probably meant there was no immediate need for him to enlist. Certainly his army number suggests he was quite a late joiner, and may even have been conscripted. Unfortunately his service records are missing. We cannot even be sure why he joined the 2nd Leeds Pals, The Bantams. The photo gives no indication of his height, and if he joined after September 1916, as suggested by his number, he could have been sent there as part of a draft to replace casualties. Whatever the reason, he was posted to W Company.
On 31st August 1917 he was captured at Guillemont Farm, having been wounded by shrapnel in his left leg and foot. He appears to have been sent to hospital at Le Cateau, and from there, once recovered enough to travel, he was moved to Stendal POW camp, where he was on 1st October 1917. This may have been only a temporary holding camp, as by 19th of that month he was at Limburg, probably another temporary camp. Finally he was moved to Quedlinburg, where he was on 2nd February 1918.
Sadly he contracted pneumonia and died on 21st April 1918. This may have been in hospital, as he is buried in Niederzwehren Cemetery, Kassel (Hessen), which is a good few miles from the camp.
This left Ann a widow, and there do not appear to have been any children. Nor, it seems, did she remarry. On the 1939 Register she is listed as Ann Booth, living at 2 Hollingreave, Holmfirth, and working as canteen worker, in a motor works.
Lewis was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.
There is one other mention of a Lewis Booth, but no evidence to confirm that it was the same Lewis, in an article in the Huddersfield Daily Examiner of 25th August 1914, which reports the result of a Union Football match between two teams of territorials, who were stationed at Laceby in Lincolnshire. It was sent in by the referee, Lewis Booth of C Company. However, there was more than one Lewis Booth born in Huddersfield in 1882, and that’s just one year.
Researchers: Jane Luxton & Peter Taylor
- All opinions and inferences are the researcher’s own.
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