Millichamp Letton Percival in Newtown, Montgomeryshire, Wales, in 1877, the daughter of Henry Letton and Charlotte Amelia Percival (née Jones) of Newtown. When she was still a young child, her family moved to West ham, London. She was educated at the Welsh Girls School, Ashford, near Staines, Middlesex, England.
On completion of her education, returned to Newtown and found work in nearby Shrewsbury, Shropshire, working for Messrs. Grocott and Co., Milliners and Mercers of The Square, Shrewsbury as a showroom assistant. Whilst working there, she met her future husband, Edward Booth-Jones who at that time was learning the antiques trade. After their marriage in Newtown on the 22nd March 1902,, they moved to Manchester where her husband set up a highly successful antiques business, before moving to London, with their two children Ailsa, born in 1906, and Percival, born in 1909. In 1915, their home address was Old Palace Terrace, The Green, Richmond, Surrey.
In October 1914, Edward Booth-Jones went to the United States of America to establish business links there and took the whole family with him. There they stayed at the home of Dr. and Mrs. P.A. McCarthy of 136, Price Street, Germanstown, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. For their return home to England, the family booked second cabin passage on board the May sailing of the
Lusitania from New York to Liverpool, which began after a delayed start just after mid-day of 1st May 1915. The delay was caused because she had to embark passengers, some crew and some of the cargo from the S.S.
Cameronia, an Anchor Lines vessel, which the British Admiralty had requisitioned for use as a troop ship, at the end of April.
Then, six days out of New York, the Lusitania was torpedoed and sunk by the German submarine
U-20, whilst steaming past the Old Head of Kinsale in southern Ireland, only about 250 miles away from the safety of her home port and destination of Liverpool. The whole family, including Millichamp Booth-Jones, was lost as a result of this action. She was aged 38 years.
One surviving second cabin passenger, a Mrs. Helen Secchi stated afterwards that the last she saw of Mr and Mrs. Booth-Jones was when they were putting on lifebelts at their cabin door. The children were not with them and although she was certain that the parents had perished, she thought that the children might have survived.
This proved not to be the case, however and despite Edward Booth-Jones' brother, Griffiths Jones travelling to Queenstown to search for them only the bodies of Mrs. Booth-Jones and Ailsa were recovered afterwards.
Their bodies were landed at Queenstown and having been taken to one of the temporary mortuaries set up there, Millichamp Booth-Jones' body was given the reference number 189 and described as: -
Mrs. Booth Jones S/C. Age 42-43 years, 5’3 or 4” high, broad full strong face, high forehead, very stout strong build, wore a bluish grey fur lined coat, perfectly sound teeth, black skirt.
Property. 1 Plain gold ring, 1 platinum gold diamond ring, 1 large brooch with horses and carriage, wore long black earring, 1 gold ring blue stones.
After a positive identification had been made, however, it was buried on 16th May, in The Old Church Cemetery, Queenstown in private grave 17, in row 15, next to the body of Ailsa. It lies there today although the grave has been re-numbered 487, in Section B of the cemetery. The inscription on the headstone, which is very weathered and indistinct, reads: -
"TOGETHER IN LIFE, IN DEATH
THEY ARE NOT DIVIDED"
IN LOVING MEMORY
MILLICHAMP LETTON BOOTH JONES
AND HER DAUGHTER
WHO TOGETHER WITH HER HUSBAND
EDWARD BOOTH JONES
AND SON PERCIVAL
LOST THEIR LIVES ON THE
S.S. "LUSITANIA" MAY 7TH 1915.
Property taken from Mrs. Booth-Jones' body was forwarded to her brother-law, Mr. Thomas John Jones, at Dinarth Hall, Colwyn Bay, Denbighshire, on 9th June 1915.
The family is also commemorated on a large memorial on the family grave in St. Asaph’s, The Parish Church of Rhos-on-Sea, Clwyd. The grave itself is in white stone, with cast bronze figures forming the centre piece, with family details inscribed on bronze panels on its base. The details relevant to those lost on the ship state: -
ALSO IN MEMORY OF EDWARD BOOTH
......... WHO WITH HIS WIFE AND TWO
CHILDREN WERE DROWNED IN THE
LUSITANIA MAY 15 1915
The date of the sinking is obviously wrong and should read MAY 7th 1915.
Register of Births, Marriages and Deaths, 1881 Census of England & Wales, 1891 Census of England & Wales, 1901 Census of England & Wales, 1911 Census of England & Wales, New York Passenger Lists 1820 -1957, Cunard Records, The Cork Examiner, Newcastle Daily Chronicle, North Wales Weekly, Philadelphia Public Ledger, Scarborough Mercury, Surrey Comet, Wellington Journal and Shrewsbury News, The Welsh Coast Pioneer, Daily Mirror, Deaths at Sea 1871 – 1968, UniLiv.D92/1/18-11, UniLiv D92/2/390, UniLiv. PR13/6, Graham Maddocks, Geoff Whitfield, Michael Poirier, Jim Kalafus, Cliff Barry, Paul Latimer, Norman Gray.
Copyright © Peter Kelly