Gunner Q.M.S. Herbert Gladstone Booth
1302 Royal Field Artillery 1st East Lancashire Brigade 42nd Div
Died 2nd December 1914, aged 31
Lived at 9 Cairo Street
Buried in Cairo War Cemetery, Egypt
Burnley Express 9/12/1914 - 9/12/1914 - 9/1/1915

A Bible mystery - Looking for Herbert Gladstone Booth

During a recent de-cluttering session,I came across an old bible. As I had several bibles already, I was going to give it to the charity shop. Fortunately I flipped through the pages,firstly discovering that it was also a hymn book and then vaguely making out something on the inside of the front page. To my amazement I found a lovely handwritten dedication,which was a piece of Jubilee church history. It was dedicated to the above named Mr Booth and his wife,Martha on the occasion of their marriage in 1906. It was the first to be solemnised at the then Jubilee Methodist Church by Rev. J.E.Phillipson. On further inspection, a newspaper cutting fell out of the pages. It was a poem,written on the occasion of the death of Mr Booth by Annie Spencer from Victoria,British Colombia, Canada. She sent the poem and a bunch of snowdrops to Mrs Booth. The poem looks as if it was published in the newspaper.
Even more surprising was the fact that I hadn’t a clue who these people were nor how it came to be in my possession. The only thing I did know was that the bible must have come from my grandma’s house. Mr and Mrs Booth would have been contemporaries of my maternal grandparents Abraham and Florence Jane Riley,who also attended Jubilee and lived on Lockyer Avenue.
I sought help from Kath Yates, the archivist of Padiham Rd Church,Burnley
( formerly Ightenhill and before that Jubilee)and she did find a tenuous family link through marriage to my paternal grandmother Jane Anne (known as Jinny) Emmott(née Jacques) who was married to Mark Emmott.
The story of Herbert and Martha Ann is in many ways a sad one. In 1911 he and Martha, aged 28, lived at 23 Dial St Burnley.He was an Assistant Librarian and his wife was a cotton weaver. Herbert and Martha had 1 child , Margaret Emma, who died in 1910 aged 2. After Herbert’s death, Martha remarried many years later at Jubilee in 1931 to James Hewitt, a widower. James died in 1946 and is buried in Burnley cemetery with his first wife Mary Jane. Martha died in 1953 (living at 4 Ronald Street) and is buried with her mother in Burnley Cemetery. Martha Booth(née Aspden) had a brother Benjamin(also presumably Aspden) who outlived her and was married to Jane Annie, the cousin of my grandma Jane Anne Emmott.
In World War 1, Herbert served in the Royal Field Artillery, 1st East Lancs Brigade 42nd division. He died of dysentery on 2nd Dec 1914 aged 31 in Egypt. He is buried in Cairo War Cemetery Egypt in PlotB.124. He is listed in the Burnley Roll of Honour as Gunner Q.M.S Herbert Gladstone Booth 1302 and two articles in the Burnley Express of the time give many interesting details about his life,work and military service as well as two photos. ( Burnley Express 9/12/1914 - 9/12/1914 ) He is also commemorated on the British Library website on a blog called “Untold lives”,as well as on the British Legion website. Details about his grave in Cairo can also be found on the Internet.In spite of his untimely death, Herbert was a well respected citizen of Burnley. He was awarded two medals and represented the Burnley Battalion at the coronation of King George.
Perhaps my grandma Florence Jane got the Bible when Martha died, as people often gave personal effects away to friends and family. My grandma died in 1964. However I would like to know if anyone is related to Benjamin Aspden, as he seems to be the last of the line or indeed if anyone is linked in any way to the Booths.So – can anyone help me to solve the mystery?

(courtesy of Lis Robinson, formerly known as Elisabeth Emmott, daughter of Freda and Bill Emmott.)




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