b. 19/10/1910 Walsall. d. 30/03/1982 Walsall.
DATE AND PLACE OF GC ACTION: 14/05/1937 South Staffordshire.
David Noel Booker (1910-1982) was born on 19th October 1910 in Walsall, Staffordshire, the youngest of four children of Arthur and Emily Booker. He had two brothers, Samuel and Albert and a sister Anne. David was educated at the National School (now Bloxwich Church of England School) until the age of 13, when he began his working life as a coal miner. He married Jane Clarke and lived at 3 Bell Lane in Bloxwich, and they had two children, David junior and Patricia.
David’s mining career was spent at Littleton Colliery, where his elder brother Samuel worked, and where they would both be involved in an incident which led to them becoming the only brothers to date to be awarded the Edward Medal (later George Cross).
On 14th May 1937, David, with his brother Samuel, was part of a rescue party trying to locate three missing men during a firedamp. Some of the party also collapsed, thereby adding to the task of the rescue workers. The brothers forced their way on four or five times, and were jointy responsible for extricating four rescuers who had succumbed to gas. All of these men survived except Mr Richard Walmsley, the Under Manager; the three missing men also died, bringing the total deaths to 4.
On 4th February 1938, both the Booker brothers were awarded the Edward Medal in Bronze, and the Carnegie Hero Trust Fund Certificate. David eventually had to leave mining due to a back injury in 1957, and joined his son working on the buses as an electrician. He also took part in a number of local activities, starting a local youth football team in the 1940s, which helped start a Youth Football League. Sadly David fell on hard times financially, and was reluctantly forced to sell his Edward Medal to a collector. When the Royal Warrant was changed in 1971, and the opportunity was there to exchange for a George Cross, David wrote to the authorities explaining about his circumstances, and he was told that he would still be eligible. He was a keen member of the VC and GC Association and regularly attended the reunions with his wife.
David died on 30th March 1982 in Walsall, Staffordshire, and was laid to rest in Bloxwich Cemetery with his wife, who had predeceased him the year before. David’s GC was donated by his son to the National Coal Mining Museum near Wakefield, Yorkshire, where it is displayed alongside his brother’s medal.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: NATIONAL COAL MINING MUSEUM, WAKEFIELD, YORKSHIRE.
BURIAL PLACE: BLOXWICH CEMETERY, BLOXWICH, WEST MIDLANDS.
David Noel Booker's George Cross at the National Coal Mining Museum, Wakefield
Booker's grave photographed in September 2015