top of page
  • Writer's pictureWendy Percival

Unravelling the Booth Brothers mystery

I'd imagined that this week I would follow on neatly from last week’s post about Charles Booth (see: Mystery and Death), who sadly died of the Spanish flu in 1918, by telling the story of one of Charles' other brothers, Edwin or Frank, both of whom served in WWI and tragically died in the conflict.

But information, not only about Edwin and Frank, but also about the wider Booth family has been coming in thick and fast, developing into a much bigger WWI story than I imagined.

For a start, I discovered there were eight brothers in the Booth household, one more than I’d thought, (where had 8 year old John been at the time of the 1901 census, I wonder?), seven of whom served in The First World War.

Canadian connections

Also, in my post, From One Mystery to More, I mentioned a Canadian connection, having discovered that Edwin appeared in the records of the Canadian Expeditionary Forces. It turns out that more than one brother had a link to Canada, as did one of their two sisters.

Other than the usual places of Find My Past and Ancestry, information has come from a variety of sources – military records, Canadian newspaper articles and even a commemoratory quilt project! It's going to take time to unravel it all, as well as obtain the necessary permissions to share with you some of the wonderful photographs I’ve also discovered.

Aerial Combat

Meanwhile, what I can share with you is a little about Flight Sub-lieutenant Frank Booth, was sadly lost his life in January 1918, after being forced to crash-land behind enemy lines and subsequently dying of injuries he’d sustained during aerial combat.

He was flying an aeroplane of the type pictured below – a Sopwith Camel, a single-seater biplane fighter aircraft.

He's buried in the Cabaret-Rouge British Cemetery, Souchez in France. The words on his headstone read, Remembered with Honour.

Sopwith Camel biplane courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

More about Frank coming soon, along with his link to my husband's grandfather's WWI story...



Wendy Percival
Wendy Percival
Oct 23, 2020

You’re so right, Carolyn, about it being a cross between thrilling and terrifying. There’s a photo on Wikipedia of the “skeleton” of one of those planes and there looks to be hardly anything to it! Very easy to succumb to a bullet, given there’s no protection for the pilot. And that’s not taking the dangers of actual flying into account! Yes, it’s disappointing when you can’t find out something you’d love to know and having lost so many WWI records in WWII bombings, I never know it the info no longer exits or if I just haven’t looked hard enough. So much has been sold off to commercial companies, it might be out there but the access to it isn’t always…


Carolyn Retallick
Carolyn Retallick
Oct 23, 2020

It is amazing what one digs up! Fascinating! Being a part of the early days of flying must have been thrilling and terrifying in equal measure. But so sad about the family loss. My great uncle by marriage sadly died in the trenches and family rumour has it that three of his brothers also perished. I haven’t actually been able to prove that yet, but will try and look into it at some point.

bottom of page