Athol James BOOTH

BOOTH, Athol James

Service Number: 6606
Enlisted: 19 October 1916, Sydney, New South Wales
Last Rank: Lance Corporal
Last Unit: 20th Infantry Battalion
Born: Barraba, New South Wales, 29 July 1892
Home Town: Summer Hill, Ashfield, New South Wales
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Salesman
Died: Natural causes, Brisbane, Queensland, 28 January 1976, aged 83 years
Cemetery: Not yet discovered
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World War 1 Service

19 Oct 1916: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, 6606, Sydney, New South Wales
7 Feb 1917: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, 6606, 20th Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1, --- :embarkation_roll: roll_number: '13' embarkation_place: Sydney embarkation_ship: HMAT Wiltshire embarkation_ship_number: A18 public_note: ''
7 Feb 1917: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, 6606, 20th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Wiltshire, Sydney
3 Oct 1918: Wounded Lance Corporal, 6606, 20th Infantry Battalion, Breaching the Hindenburg Line - Cambrai / St Quentin Canal, GSW (right leg)
16 Jun 1919: Discharged AIF WW1, Lance Corporal, 6606, 20th Infantry Battalion


Athol Booth 20th Infantry Battalion

20th Infantry Battalion was part of the 5th Infantry Brigade,
2nd Australian Infantry Division.

Athol who lived at 5 Edward Street Summer Hill in Sydney, enlisted at
the Showground Camp Sydney 19/10/1916. When reading his enlistment medical
an interesting point is all were examined for the normal type illnesses
plus "any sign of BC or D". On enlistment recruits were examined for
BC or D tattooed on their skin. These were British army tattoos.
BC stood for bad character and D for deserter.

4 days later on to Liverpool, basic training and passed
No 15 NCO School on the 27/10/16 with skills of the rank of Sgt.
Back to 3rd Depot Battalion Liverpool.

Athol was in the 19th group of reinforcements who departed Sydney
on board the Wiltshire 7 February 1917. The Wiltshire had also taken
the 15th group of reinforcements back on August 22 1916.
Wiltshire was designated A18 and had been built in Scotland 1912, this
twin screw five masted steamer of 7801 tons sank some years later,
1922 May 31st on Great Barrier Island en route from Liverpool
to Auckland with general cargo.

However back to 1917.
The trip after leaving Australia was via Durban, where Athol visited
S. Cyprian's Church, Cape Town, Seara Leone to England arriving
Devenport April 11.

April 11th 1917 Attached 5th Training Battalion at Rollestone.
A tented camp-site had been established close to Rollestone Bake Farm
and east of the Salisbury-Bustard Rd in 1904.
In 1916 Rollestone was taken over by the Australian training battalions.
By then the hutting situation had improved so that from June '16
Australian Imperial Force training battalions were based in new huts to
provide reinforcements for divisions at the front.
At Rollestone, Camps 31 to 34 were taken over by No 2 Group comprising
4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 12th and 13th training Battalions which were to
provide reinforcements for the 2nd and 4th Divisions...
Athol was acting Lance Corporal April 14 now he was with
5 Training Battalion.

May 7 1917 Fargo Hospital admitted with influenza.
May 13 Sick, admitted to Fargo Hospital.
May 23 Back to 5th Training Battalion Rollestone.

October 9 1917 Departing for France and 20th Battalion via Southampton.
October 10 Arrived 2 A.D.B.D at Havre, France.
October 13 Marched out of 2 A.D.B.D to join 20th Battalion in the field, Belgium.
A member of the 19th Reinforcement of the 20th Battalion,
October 15 Joins 20th Battalion.
October 16 Appointed Lance Corporal.
The 20th Battalion, during the Third Battle of Ypres, (better known as
Pashendale) fought with great success at Broodeseinde Ridge in October,
here the Australians lost 17,000 men in return for an advance of
4,000 yards.
The 20th Battalion came out of the battle only 150 strong.
Battalion strength during WW1 was some 550 - 1000 men.
Yet, they fought again in the Somme November.
Ypres in ruin Oct 1917 November 14 1917 All Australian Battalions pulled out of Ypres battlefields.

December 24 1917 To Field Ambulance

January 3 1918 Rejoined Bn. from Ambulance/Hospital.

March 1918 the Second Division helped halt the German offensive in the Somme region.

April 12 1918 to 2/3 Field Ambulance in France, Furunculosis
April 13 Rouen, admitted to Casualty Clearing Station, 12 General Hospital.
April 15 2 C. Depot in Rouen with Pyoderma Impetigo
April 16 6 General Hospital still in the town of Rouen.
April 26 Embarked to England, aboard the "Aberdonian", for Bristol England.
These complaints, symptoms of blistering contagious pussy boils and
lesions are more than likely results of mustard gas used by the Germans.
April 27 Beaufort War Hospital in Bristol.

May 21 1918 Transferred to 3rd Auxiliary in Dartford.
May 26 Furlo 26/5 till 6/6 London and Australian Head Quarters.

June 6 1918 Reported to No 1 Command Depot, Sutton Venny.
Captain Raymond Dooley MBE was Adjutant No 1 Command Depot, 1917-18
June 19 Impetigo flare up. Group Clg Hospital Sutton Venny.

July 13 From hospital back to No 1 Command Depot.

Sutton Venny 1918

August 12 1918 Marched in to O/Seas Training Battalion Londonbridge Deverill.

September 9 1918 Returned to A.I.D.B. Havre France via "Folkstone after being attached
to the O/Seas Training Bde, Londonbridge Deverill.
Rejoining 20th Battalion now in France.
September 1918 Unit was involved at Mont Saint Quentin taking it by storm
in one of the finest feats of fighting of the war.
Hindenburg Line 1918
It fought on to the Hindenburg Line and beyond, becoming the last
division to be withdrawn.
The St. Quentin Canal passed through a 3 mile tunnel and it was
at this point the infamous Hindenburg line was broken.

October 3 1918 Wounded in Action, October the third. 6th Australian Field Ambulance
treated for shrapnel wound right leg then transferred Athol to 12th Casualty
Clearing Station.
October 4 2nd General Hospital
October 5 Rouen to England via the "Gloucester Castle"
October 6 Athol admitted to the 3rd Southern General Hospital in Oxford England,
suffering from a gunshot wound, initially diagnosed as shrapnel wound,
right leg.
October 16 N.O.K, Father John Booth, notified Athol in Hospital.
October 23 Transferred to 3rd Auxiliary Hospital Dartford.

November 1 1918 Discharged from Hospital to No 2 Command Depot Weymouth.
November 21 Back to Sutton Venny and No 1 Command Depot.
November 29 HQ AIF Depots in UK at Tidworth, Tidworth is very near Rollestone.

February 21 1919 Marched back to Sutton Venny and 1 Command Depot.

March 31 1919 Departed England at Liverpool aboard the Khyber bound for Australia.

[5th patch]

The 5th Infantry Brigade of this 2nd Division of the
Australian Infantry Division served in Egypt, Gallipoli, Western Front
and along with the 20th the 5th also consisted of:-
17th Infantry Battalion February 1915 to past November 1918
18th Infantry Battalion February 1915 to past November 1918
19th Infantry Battalion February 1915 to 10 October 1918
20th Infantry Battalion February 1915 to past November 1918
5th Machine Gun Company 12 March 1916 to 2 March 1918
5A/1 Light Trench Mortar Battery April 1916 to 15 June 1916
5A/2 Light Trench Mortar Battery April 1916 to 15 June 1916
5th Light Trench Mortar Battery 15 June 1916 to past November 1918

Colonel/Brigadier General W. Holmes September 1914 to 10 January 1917
Brigadier General R. Smith 28 January 1917 to 1 July 1918
Brigadier General E. F. Martin 1 July 1918 to 3 June 1919

Battle Honours:
Suvla, Gallipoli 1915, Egypt 1915-16,
Somme 1916-18,
Pozieres, Bapaume 1917,
Bullecourt, Ypres 1917,
Menin Road, Polygon Wood, Broodeseinde, Poelcappelle, Passchendaele,
Ancre 1918,
Hamel, Amiens, Albert 1918,
Mont St Quentin, Hindenburg Line, Beaurevoir, France and Flanders 1916-18

The 2nd Division Memorial stands on a ridge overlooking Peronne in the
village of Mont St Quentin on the Bapaume-Peronne Road.
Peronne was captured by the AIF September 1918 in an operation linked
to the taking of Mont St Quentin.
A bronze Digger replaces the original statue which depicted a Digger about
to bayonet a German eagle. The Germans removed it during their occupation
in 1940.

We're Coming Home!, aboard the Khyber


The KHYBER was a 9,114 gross ton ship built in 1914 by Cammell Laird, Birkenhead
for the Peninsular & Orient Steam Navigation Co.(P&O Line). She was a twin screw
vessel with a speed of 14 knots.
She commenced her maiden voyage from London to Bombay, Colombo, Melbourne and
Sydney on 5/9/1914 and made 4 or more round passenger voyages on this service.
During the First World War She became a Troopship.

HMAT KHYBER Athols trip home.

Athol left Sutton Venny, England on the 30th of March, 1919, arriving at Liverpool the
following day.
Khyber sailed from Liverpool at 8 am on April One and reached Port Said at 11 am on
10th of April.

Left Port Said on afternoon of 11 th April passing through the Suez Canal the same night.
Arrived at Colombo on the morning of April 22nd the following day.

On April 29th the Army advised Athols Next of Kin he was returning to Australia.

Sighted Fremantle at 10 am on 3rd May and left for Adelaide at 4pm on 4th of May,
arriving at this latter port at 8am on 9th of May.
Departed Adelaide 7pm on 10th May and entered Port Phillip Heads on morning of
12th of May.
Left the same morning for Sydney, arriving there on 14th May, 1919.


On 15/5/1920 she commenced sailing's between London, Colombo, Melbourne and Sydney
(missing out Bombay) and made 5 round passenger voyages on this service.
She was withdrawn and sold for breaking up in 1931.
[North Star to Southern Cross by John M.Maber]

Athol was awarded the 1914/19 Star, British War Medal (#69884), and the
Victory Medal (#67084). His Returned Soldiers Badge is issue # 148599.

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