Paul Dyson looks at the careers of the three Yorkshire cricketers who died as a result of the First World War. The photo of Major Booth comes courtesy of Mick Pope.

For a cricketer to be described as being at the top of his profession, for the 1914-18 War to then break out and for him to lose his life in that conflict all make for a story of the utmost tragedy. Major William Booth (Major was his Christian name, not his rank) was an all-rounder who was just approaching maturity when fate took a decisive hand. He had completed the double of 1000 runs and 100 wickets for the first time, in 1913, had made his Test debut in the following winter, was chosen as one of the Wisden Five but then enlisted with the Leeds ‘Pals’ at the end of the 1914 season to do his duty for King and country.

Booth rose to the rank of Second-Lieutenant but on July 1st, 1916 he fell in action near La Cigny, France during the battle of Lens on the Somme. He was caught in a burst of shell-fire and died in the arms of Abe Waddington, a Yorkshire fast bowler, who stumbled upon the dying comrade almost by accident. Booth had lived with his sister and she found herself completely unable to accept that she would never see him again. His room was left exactly as he had left it and it remained in this state until she, herself, died in 1956. A further tragic twist.

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