The Airmen's Stories - Sgt. G B Booth
Glendon Bulmar Booth, of Sydenham, was born in 1920. His father, Henry TB Booth, had served in the RNAS and RAF in the First World War and, in 1939, was employed as a gas fitter.
GB Booth was educated at Brockley County School and worked for the County of London Electricity Company. He joined the RAFVR in May 1939, as an Airman u/t Pilot. He was called up on 1st September 1939.
With training completed, Booth joined 85 Squadron at Debden on 15th July 1940. He damaged a Me109 in combat over the Sussex coast on 29th August. The pilot made a forced-landing near Pevensey and was captured.
On the 30th Booth damaged a Me110 and on the 31st he probably destroyed another. On 1st September Booth was shot down by Me109s over Tunbridge Wells. He baled out, with burns and his parachute alight and was further injured in a heavy landing. His Hurricane, L2071, crashed at Kingswood, Sanderstead, Surrey.
Moira Mogford, nee Holt, who was eight years old at the time, later described to the BBC how Booth landed in her family's garden in Littleheath Road, Selsdon, Surrey. She wrote in part 'My father shouted "It's one of ours, but it's coming down too fast! ".'
'Several neighbours joined us, all staring anxiously at the dishevelled figure fast descending towards us. He only had one shoe on and his flying jacket was hanging off one shoulder. Someone had the good sense to run and fetch a mattress, because the airman struck a telegraph pole on the way down and he was clearly badly injured. With the help of the neighbours my father and brother laid him on the mattress and called an ambulance'"
Booth was able to talk to those helping him, but he proved to be paralysed. Moira Holt wrote to him regularly until his death.
Booth died of kidney failure as a result of his injuries on 7th February 1941 and was buried six days later in Crystal Palace Cemetery. He was 20 years old.
The gravestone contains the words, "In proud and loving memory of our dear only son Glen, Sgt. Pilot G. B. Booth, Fighter Command, RAF". Booth's mother, Margaret Harriet (died 1960) and his father (died 1972) were both buried in the grave.