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CWGC’s Living Memory commemorates centenary of soldier’s death

07 October 2016

On Saturday, October 8, a special ceremony will take place at CWGC’s Botley Cemetery in Oxford to commemorate a young New Zealand soldier buried at the site.

Private Benjamin Bland Booth was born on December 14, 1893 in New Zealand and worked as a farmer on his father’s farm. He was educated at Newstead Primary School and Hamilton Boys' High.

Benjamin enlisted on June 15, 1915 and left New Zealand from Wellington in October, aboard the troopship Maunganui. He arrived in Suez, Egypt on November 18, where he joined the Auckland Infantry Regiment and joined his unit at Ismailia on January 8, 1916.

By April 1916, Benjamin embarked to France, where, in September of that year, he received abdominal and thigh wounds while fighting.

He was treated at the 15th Corp Main Dressing Unit and transferred to the 1st Canadian Central Hospital in October. He was then transferred to the 3rd Southern General Hospital in Oxford, where he died from his wounds on October 11, 1916 aged just 22.

His brother, Rifleman George Herbert Booth, died four months later, also from wounds received in battle.

The event on Saturday, which is free to the public to attend from 1.45pm, has been organised by the ‘Globalising and Localising the Great War’ project at the Faculty of History, University of Oxford as part of the CWGC’s Living Memory Project.

In attendance on the day will be the New Zealand High Commissioner, His Excellence the Right Honourable, Sir Lockwood Smith KNZM. He will be accompanied by Brigadier Evan Williams, NZ Defence Advisor, New Zealand Defence Force.

The ceremony will be followed by refreshments and an exhibition with short talks on how and why New Zealanders came to be buried in Botley.

Image credit to Auckland Library, NZ