10 March 2006

( select to enlarge )
Medal entitlement of Captain Frederick Booth,
British South Africa Police ( att'd Rhodesia Native Regiment )

  • Victoria Cross
  • Distinguished Conduct Medal ( DCM )
  • 1914 - 15 Star
  • British War Medal ( 1914 - 20 )
  • Victory Medal ( 1914 - 19 )
  • King George VI Coronation Medal ( 1937 )
  • Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Medal ( 1953 )

There's an indication that probably some time in the 1930s Frederick Booth sent his Victoria Cross and campaign medals back to the Rhodesia Native Regiment in Salisbury, Rhodesia ( now Harare, Zimbabwe ), the regiment with which he was serving when he won his Victoria Cross.

A member of the British South Africa Police Association, the organisation that Booth originally enlisted into in 1912, recollects a Victoria Cross group being displayed in the Regimental Institute of the British South Africa Police in Salisbury. There's a high possibility that this medal group could have been Frederick Booth's.

In 1984 the subject of a Medal Sale of December 1982 was discussed in South Africa, especially how a huge amount of various medals from the former Southern Rhodesia, and Rhodesia, had come onto the market. This included a very substantial number of the British South African Police Company medals in its various forms. It was quite common knowledge within medal collecting circles that this huge number of various medals of Rhodesian origin had been acquired in the very early days of Zimbabwean independence by a person who was a former BSAP Field Reservist.

The person concerned had claimed that he had obtained Booth's Victoria Cross medal group ( along with many other such groups for gallantry ) from a government establishment during the state of confusion in late January 1980. He had further claimed that he had sent all the valuable medals, such as Booth's Victoria Cross, to the United Kingdom where they were held in secure circumstances.

A further report suggests that a Rhodesian medal collector, who resided in England, was in possession of the Frederick Booth Victoria Cross group from 1980 to at least 1984.

Sergeant Booth was attached to the Rhodesia Native Regiment on its formation in 1916 and proceeded with it to East Africa, where on the 12th February 1917 he earned his Victoria Cross. Although the citation does appear to be a little short on the description of Booth's actions.

For the award of the Victoria Cross.

[ London Gazette, 8 June 1917 ], Johannesbruck, Near Songea, German East Africa, 12 February 1917, 1630 Sergeant Frederick Charles Booth, British South Africa Police, att'd Rhodesia Native Regiment.

For most conspicuous bravery during an attack in thick bush on the enemy position. Under very heavy rifle fire, Sergeant Booth went forward alone and brought in a man who was dangerously wounded. Later he rallied native troops who were badly disorganised and brought them to the firing line.

This NCO has on many previous occasions displayed the greatest bravery, coolness and resource in action, and has set a splendid example of pluck, endurance and determination.

Sergeant Frederick Booth was invested with his Victoria Cross by King George V at Buckingham Palace on 16th January 1918.

For the award of the Distinguished Conduct Medal.

[ London Gazette, 26 May 1917 ], German East Africa, 15 May 1917, 1630 Sergeant Frederick Charles Booth, British South Africa Police, att'd Rhodesia Native Regiment.

For conspicuous gallantry on many occasions. Booth showed a splendid example of courage and good leadership, inspiring confidence in his men. He twice carried despatches through enemy lines.

Shortly after Frederick Booth was awarded his Distinguished Conduct Medal he was wounded and was invalided out of East Africa. In October 1917 he was recommended for a permanent commission in the regular army and left in November for Britain. On 13th February 1918 he was discharged from the Rhodesia Native Regiment on appointment to a permanent commission in the Middlesex Regiment with the rank of captain. Booth later transferred to the Reserve of Officers, remaining thus until he reached the age of liability to recall on 16th April 1939.

Frederick Booth died on the 14th September 1960, aged 70, at the Red Cross Convalescent Hospital for Officers, Percival Terrace, Brighton, East Sussex. He's buried in the Bear Road Cemetery ( Red Cross Section ).


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Iain Stewart, 14 March 2006