William Booth's Grave (1912)

Four months later, in a letter to Eva, he said that he was going into action once more, in the Salvation War and that he believed God would give him more successes. His desire was to make the Salvation Army such a power for God and of such benefit to mankind that no wicked people could spoil it. He had been feeling ill and without energy, so he was using that as an excuse for doing nothing, but the doctors told him that if he continued thinking in this way his life would be over, so he determined to encourage himself and start the fight again.

However, it was not to be; the General began to fade. In what proved to be his last coherent conversation with Bramwell he made him promise that he would concentrate on helping the homeless of the world and unfurl the Salvation Army flag in China. Near the end he said to Bramwell with a smile, ‘I am leaving you a bonnie handful!’

At the end Bramwell bent over his father and kissed him. ‘Kiss him again,’ whispered Mrs Booth-Hellberg, ‘kiss him for Eva.’ And Bramwell kissed his father again, and placed in his hand the cable which had come from Eva in America, saying: ‘Kiss him for me.’ On 20th August 1912, William Booth died.

For some reason this hero was not buried in Westminster Abbey. The funeral service was at an Exhibition Hall in Hammersmith Road - 40,000 attended, including Queen Mary who sat next to a converted ex-prostitute. The crowds that lined the streets for his journey to Abney Park Cemetery were the greatest ever seen. Humanity wept for William Booth as a man weeps for a friend.  

(His legacy was a Salvation Army that numbered 15,875 officers and cadets, operating in 58 lands.)

From my biography of William Booth on this website.

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