Members Statement 21 March 2017
Brad Battin MP – State Member for Gembrook
On 17th March 2017 a family dinner was held at my in-laws Carol and Greg. The dinner to remember Greg’s Great Uncle 20 year old Joseph Boote, who lost his life that day 100 years earlier in Flanders, France.
Joseph was born in 1896 in Manchester, England. The third of four children brought up in the Industrial North. The 1911 census states 14 year old Joseph worked as a piecer in the cotton mill.
When the call to arms came, the thought of adventure for young men like Joseph was exciting and he enlisted with the 1/8th Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders Infantry. He became Private Joseph Boote, regiment # 301104.
An abridged reading as follows:
‘The raiding party left Ecoivres Huts at 9pm on 16th March. At 12 midnight a halt was made and the men were given soup and cake and issued with bombs and charges. Men’s greatcoats, mess-tins and bayonet scabbards were sent back from this point.
At 1.45am the party proceeded to the front line at Roclincourt and all was ready at 4.45am. Zero hour was fixed for 6.15am which meant waiting under cover for an hour of daylight.
The barrage began, the soldiers went over the top at zero hour and were up to the first line without casualty. During the next 25 minutes fighting was extremely severe with close range rifle fire eventually taking the 2nd line. The enemy were dealt with and any left above ground retreated to the Third Line. The whole battle was completed in 40 minutes leaving 16 dead, 77 wounded and 13 missing.
This is not a battle that is mentioned in remembrance ceremonies, it is not considered significant enough. However 20 year old Joseph Boote, a young man from Manchester, England gave his life for his country and now 100 years on – on the other side of the world, he is remembered with pride and will never be forgotten.