b. 1902 Walsall. d. 17/12/1979 Blakenhall, Walsall, Staffordshire.
DATE AND PLACE OF GC ACTION: 14/05/1937 South Staffordshire.
Samuel Booker (1910-1979) was born in the early months of 1902 in Walsall, Staffordshire, the eldest of four children of Arthur and Emily Booker. He had two brothers, David and Albert and a sister Anne. Samuel 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 Beatrice and lived in Blakenhall near Walsall with their two children, Arthur and Emma.
Samuel’s mining career was spent at Littleton Colliery, where his youngest brother David 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, Samuel, with his brother David, 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. Samuel spent the remainder of his working life in the pits, before he retired to look after his wife, who had tragically gone blind. His wife passed away in 1972, not long after Samuel decided to exchange his Edward Medal for the George Cross. Samuel died on 17th December 1979 and was buried in his wife’s grave at Bloxwich Cemetery. Their son Arthur’s ashes were interred with them on his death in 1995. Sadly neither Samuel or Arthur’s names are on the headstone. Samuel’s medal, like his brother David’s, is displayed at the National Coal Mining Museum near Wakefield, Yorkshire.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: NATIONAL COAL MINING MUSEUM, WAKEFIELD, YORKSHIRE.
BURIAL PLACE: BLOXWICH CEMETERY, BLOXWICH, WEST MIDLANDS. (SAMUEL IS NOT NAMED ON HIS WIFE BEATRICE'S GRAVE).
Samuel Booker's George Cross held by the National Coal Mining Museum,
Samuel Booker's grave (though he is not named on it) photographed in September 2015