A PROMINENT memorial to a fallen soldier at Burnley Cemetery is set to be restored thanks to a donation from a leading businessman.
Private James Booth, of the King’s Own Royal Lancasters, lost his life in action at the age of 30 in September 1917 and his grave is a well-known landmark in the Rossendale Road graveyard.
But after he heard that Private Booth’s monument was in a state of disrepair, Andrew Brown, who owns Crow Wood Leisure, has stepped in to foot the bill for its renovation.
Mr Brown, who is donating around £1,000, said: “I read about the grave falling into disrepair and thought that it was a great shame as we’re about to mark the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War.
“In Burnley, we’re generally very proud of our own and Private Booth had made the ultimate sacrifice, so I felt compelled to help.”
The repairs will replace missing masonry and restore the bayonet, the hands and one missing ear to the statue of the 8th Battalion soldier.
His parents, Joshua and Margaret Booth, lived in Briercliffe Road and the trooper was a former Bank Hall miner and munitions worker before enlisting.
Andrew Gill, chairman of the East Lancashire branch of the Western Front Association, said: “We were very pleased about Mr Brown’s generosity. We campaign to raise awareness of the contribution made by those who served in the First World War and it’s fitting the grave will be renovated in the 100th anniversary year.”
Mike Waite of the borough council’s community engagement office, added: “His initiative means the restoration of Private Booth’s grave will take place alongside the wider work by the council to clean and re-letter all the public war memorials in the borough.”
Last week it was confirmed that the graves of two Victoria Cross recipients from Burnley — Private Thomas Whitham and Second Lieut Hugh Colvin — would be cleaned up as part of a national initiative.
About Pte James Booth
- Pte James Booth was killed in action in Belgium (although the memorial says France) on 26 September 1917.
- His regimental number, 241973, and other records, confirm that Pte Booth had previously served with the 2nd/5th Battalion of the King’s Own Royal Lancaster Regiment.
- Pte Booth is buried in Perth Cemetery (China Wall), Ypres, Belgium.
- He enlisted on 3 March, 1915, aged 30.
- Brought up at Myrtle Bank, he was a quiet man, said his obituary.
- Before joining the Army he was employed at Bank Hall pit.
- He was slightly hurt in battle by a bayonet and was invalided home for sickness for a period.