Bombardier Boot was a well known figure around Kirkby-in-Ashfield, both as an employee of the local co-operative society and as a member of the Kirkby Co-operative Cricket Team. He had co-operation in his blood as his father, F Boot, was a director of the same society of which his son was a member. He was said to be of a jovial disposition, and was well liked by all who knew him.
Boot joined the army on 10 September 1914 as a bombardier. The regiment he joined is unknown, but he was sent to the Western Front to fight. Sadly, Boot was killed in action on 9 July 1915. His parents were sent a letter by Second-Lieutenant Birtles, stating that “Your son was with me on a rather dangerous job last night but he did his work well. He is to be buried this afternoon at 4 o’clock in a nice garden under the walls of Ypres and facing the foe.”
Sergeant Griffiths added in another letter that “He was killed in action this morning [4 July 1915] between 9 and 10 o’clock, and was buried this afternoon with all military honours, at 4 o’clock. I and his comrades went to his funeral, and he is having a cross erected over his grave. He was a great friend of mine.”
Co-operative News, 31 July 1915, page 1017.
WWI co-operative voices
This post is part of ‘WWI co-operative voices’ which shares the stories of co-operative workers and members during the conflict. In order to mark the centenary of the WWI, the Rochdale Pioneers Museum is staging an exhibition entitled ‘From shop floor to front line’ and the accounts of these soldiers, shop workers and conscientious objectors will run alongside it. They are tales of death, duty and of those who chose not to fight.
Through ‘WWI co-operative voices’ we will be releasing new posts about these individuals throughout the duration of the exhibition (due to open mid-May 2015 and run until May 2016). Read about the co-operative movement’s involvement in a war that shook the world by selecting a name from the column on the left. You can also follow us on social media for regular updates.
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We wish to thank the Heritage Lottery Fund for supporting the ‘From shop floor to front line’ exhibition and project.