BOOTH, John Hamilton

Unit / Base: 
8 Commando
'Special Boat Section'
Seaforth Highlanders
Corporal John Booth was attached to No.8 Commando until joining the SBS [1][2]. He was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal in recognition of gallant and distinguished service in the Middle East [3][4].
"For particularly meritorious service in action against an armed German Naval Auxiliary vessel off Suda Bay on the 21st. April, 1942, when his courage and skilful shooting with the Bren gun were worthy of the highest praise.
The words of the official report were as follows:- "Some really splendid shooting with the bren gun by Corporal J. Booth of the Seaforth Highlanders had been successful in preventing the enemy from manning their foremost gun and he had just (literally) flattened the crew of the midship gun when our first direct hit completely destroyed this gun, which appeared to be blown over the side. Fire from her machine-gun, which had been ineffective, had now ceased and an attempt to man the after gun was frustrated by Corporal Booth, the gun's crew preferring to jump over the stern rather than face the fire of his Bren gun".
On 13th April as lookout this N.C.O. sighted the masts of an enemy ship at great range in the Ionian Sea and on two patrols his keenness to take his share in all the work of the submarine has been most marked and appreciated. His previous service in the flotilla has included the patrol in H.M.S. Osiris in January when a complete failure of the shaft lubrication system occurred and Booth worked in two watches to lubricate the bearings by hand for the entire return passage, and a patrol in H.M.S. Thunderbolt in October 1941, when he successfully accomplished his special task and, with Sergeant Sherwood, landed 8 agents on the enemy coast.
Before this he saw service in the Tenth Submarine Flotilla at Malta, and there is no doubt that Corporal Booth is the best type of N.C.O. to achieve co-operation and good results in combined operations between the services" [4].
[1] A Timeline of the SBS - Linked Content below.
[2] SBS in World War Two, author G.B. Courtney.
[3] London Gazette 35771, page 4796.
[4] National Archives file WO373/46/25.

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