Walter M BOOTH
Rank: Ordinary Seaman
Number: Mersey/Z/5791
Unit: Royal Naval Depot Crystal Palace
Date of Death: 17 October 1918
Age: 18
Cemetery: Weaste Cemetery, Salford

The Booth family originated from Salford but had lived in Reddish for many years and Walter was born there. His parents were John Robert and Elizabeth Booth and the family home was at 88 Windmill Street, North Reddish. Both parents died some time before the War and Walter continued to live at home with his brother and sisters.

He’d attended North Reddish School and was a member of its Old Scholars Association. The family worshipped at St Agnes’ Church and he had furthered his education by attending the Church’s Sunday School. When he left school, he became an apprentice draughtsman at the local machine tool manufacturing firm of Craven Brothers. He worked there until he became 18 and was conscripted into the forces. He was assigned to the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve – the navy equivalent of the Army’s Territorials – on 29 July 1918.

He had undertaken his basic training and was at Crystal Palace undergoing further training to become a wireless operator when he died. The cause of death is not known but the autumn of 1918 saw a worldwide pandemic of influenza which claimed many millions of lives. The outbreak appears to have particularly affected younger people.

Walter’s body was brought back north and he was buried in the family grave at Weaste Cemetery on 23 October.

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