May 5, 1914 - September 25, 1942
Arthur Roland Both was the son of Frederick Ernest Booth and Harriet Ann (nee Booth) of Ford House, Thongsbridge, Huddersfield, UK. He had three brothers, Frank, Philip, and John (in the RAF) and two sisters, Sylvia Booth Thorpe and Muriel, all in England. The family was Anglican.
Arthur moved to Canada in 1938 from England and enlisted in Toronto on December 15, 1939. He had been working as an assistant textile manager for Patons and Baldwins Ltd for eight years. He spoke English and French fluently.
His teeth were ‘excellent,’ he fractured his right thumb and little finger on his left hand. He liked gardening, rugby, skating, and skiing. He smoked and drank alcohol occasionally. He stood 5’10” tall and weighed 174 pounds.
Arthur learned to fly with the Kitchener and Waterloo Flying Club.
His training included EFTS from January 2 to March 6, 1940. Intermediate Flying Training: April 22 to June 15, 1940, where he received his Pilot’s Flying Badge. “Average. 67.9%.” He was 25th out of 35 in his class.
Arthur took Advanced Flying Training at Camp Borden, Ontario June 17 to August 10, 1940 where he was 25th out of 35 in his class with a 68. “Recommended for fighter squadron. He was reprimanded for a low flying offence. Recommended for service overseas. Casual outlook but can improve if he tries.” This infraction occurred on June 29, 1940. “By flying Fairey Battle aircraft No. 1628 in such a manner over the premises of the Kitchener-Waterloo Flying Club at approximately 1510 hours as to cause danger of loss of life or injury to one of the employees of the said Flying Club, and generally flying said aircraft dangerously and in such a manner as to constitute a nuisance by circling the said premises at a very low altitude clearing buildings and other obstructions by a very small margin.” He received a severe reprimand.
He then took a short navigation course in Trenton until October 4, 1940 where he was 11th out 16 in his class with a mark of 68.6%. “This officer’s practical navigation in the air was good. This officer passed in all subjects on the course, GROUND TRAINING, but is not instructor material and is not recommended that he be posted to fill an instructor’s vacancy.” The OC comments: “This officer is interested in only active service overseas. He will be extremely discontented and unhappy if retained in an instructional capacity.”
Another course, this time in Drill and Ceremony, at Brantford, Ontario September 1941 earning 82.2%. On March 20, 1941, he received another severe reprimand. “Neglect to obey Station Standing Orders in that he, about 4 miles NE of Paris, Ontario, on the 20th of March 1941, landed an aircraft [Anson 6262] in an unauthorized field, without proper authority contrary to Section II Para. 41 SSI, which order directed that pilots are not to land at other than authorized fields without the authority of the Squadron Commander, or in case of emergency. In open arrest from 24-3-41 to 28-3-41.” A Court of Inquiry was struck. His dress, personal appearance and deportment were considered average. “Good voice.”
Arthur married Frances Elizabeth Barbour on December 26, 1941, in Brantford, Ontario. She moved to Imperoyal, NS to be with Arthur. Frances was a gifted golfer.
Then he took an astro extension course in Rivers, Manitoba May 25 to July 3, 1942, average, and was 7th in his class.
According to an article in the Ottawa Journal dated September 29, 1942, “The hunt for the missing plane still continues along Nova Scotia coastline about 60 miles northwest of Halifax. The plane’s crew, all listed as missing, consisted of F/L Arthur Rolland Booth, pilot, whose next of kin was given as his wife, Imperoyal, NS. P/O Walter Lawrence Junge, observer, whose wife lives in Cootamundra, NSW, Australia. P/O Charles Gordon Sawyer, WAG, whose father, Frank William Sawyer, lives at Victoria; P/O David McGillvray Knowles, observer, whose mother lives at Toronto; F/Sgt John Douglas Selig, WAG, a resident of Bridgetown NS, where his father, H.A. Selig, resides.”
In the Court of Inquiry, found in reel C-5936, image 1075, Arthur Booth had experience flying Fleet, Harvard, Fairey Battle, Anson and Hudson aircraft. He was a fully qualified captain of Hudson aircraft. The observer, F/O Junge was a good observer who had flown on many patrols. Twelve witnesses were called.
DESCRIPTION OF FLIGHT: “F/L Booth, pilot and crew of 4 took off at 0340 hours ADT in Hudson Mark III 454 detailed to carry out an outer A/S patrol. The ETA of the aircraft at the base was 1300 hours ADT. At 1334 hours ADT when the aircraft had not arrived at base, a message was passed to Command for transmission requesting the pilot to send his ETA. This message was transmitted at 1405 hours ADT but Hudson 454 did not reply to this message. At 1500 hours ADT, it was assumed that the aircraft could be out of gas and search proceedings were instituted and continued until the 6th of October. Forty-nine flights were made in an exhaustive search for the missing Hudson and personnel but not trace of the missing aircraft or personnel has been found. There was evidence that a Hudson aircraft was over the convoy during the morning of September 25, 1942 and was last seen at 1200 hours ADT. This aircraft is considered to have been Hudson 454.
The first witness, S/L Albin Laut, C861, assistant controller, Dartmouth, indicated that the captain of the convoy escort reported a Hudson aircraft intermittently throughout the morning. It was last seen at 1200 ADT. This must have been Hudson 454 as the relief aircraft did not take off base until 1230 ADT.
The fourth witness, LAC Arnold Avery Malone, R104172, indicated he assisted with the refuelling of the aircraft before It was put up for the night. “I was on the wings and saw that the gas tanks were full.”
The sixth witness, LAC Zado Zator, R85069, airframe mechanic said that he checked the guages in the aircraft and “with a flashlight, I checked the tanks with the help of another man on the wing.”
The eighth witness, LAC Perry Ralph Cole, R119683, AEM, said that he spoke with F/L Booth. “I was standing near Hudson 454 when F/L Booth came out to the aircraft at 0520 hours. I followed him into the cockpit of the aircraft. I saw him start up the engines and then he signed the L.1 and the crew list which I now submit as evidence. He asked me if the aircraft was ready to go. He said the aircraft was serviceable last night and should be already to go now. I saw five people in the aircraft. I did not know all of them by sight, but there were four officers in the aircraft and one flight sergeant as Wireless Operator. I knew F/L Booth and his Australian Observer, P/O Junge.”
The tenth witness, S/L William Charles VanCamp, C873, Officer Commanding detailed F/L Booth and his crew to carry out an outer A/S patrol. “F/L Booth was a fully qualified captain of Hudson aircraft both by day and night. P/O Junge was a good observer who had flown on many patrols with 11 (BR). P/O Knowles, another observer, was under instruction having recently joined the Squadron. Both P/O Sawyer and F/S Selig were experienced wireless operators who had flown on patrols with the Squadron.”
INVESTIGATION: Cause: Unknown. RECOMMENDATION: The court being unable to ascertain details of this accident is unable to make any recommendations.
FINDINGS: That Hudson 454 took off from RCAF Station, Dartmouth, NS on an outer anti-submarine patrol for a convoy at 0540 hours ADT on the 25th September 1942 and did not return, is missing and it is reasonable to suppose that it is lost.
CONCLUSION: Hudson, with an experienced pilot and crew, failed to return from an anti-submarine patrol. Considered lost at sea. Cause unknown.
A memo from the RCMP dated November 23, 1942: “It will be observed that inquiries have continued by our Sherbrooke and Sheet Harbour Detachments in an effort to secure information concerning the location of the forced landing of this aircraft, but without success, and in view of the length of time which has now elapsed since this airplane was first reported as missing, I am now considering my file as closed as there appears that little further can be done.”