LONDON -- Catherine Bramwell-Booth, 104, granddaughter of the founder of the Salvation Army and a leading figure in the social service organization for most of her life, died Oct. 3 at her home in Finchampstead, 20 miles west of London. She had diabetes.
Miss Bramwell-Booth was the eldest of seven children of Bramwell Booth, who, on his father's death in 1912, became the Salvation Army's second general. William Booth founded the Christian evangelical and social reform organization in 1865 in London. Miss Bramwell-Booth added her father's first name to her surname in his honor.
She became an officer of the organization in 1903, and before World War I she was preaching at secret meetings in Russia. By 1917, she was helping with refugees. In 1926, she took over the Women's Social Work of the Salvation Army, which was then responsible for 18 homes for mothers and children. In 1927 she was appointed commissioner, the highest rank below the movement's only general, and retained the rank to her death.
Miss Bramwell-Booth once said that from the moment she left home to train as a Salvation Army officer, she never doubted that she should honor the movement's pledge never to smoke, swear, steal, gamble or drink alcohol.
"God made me feel that I ought to offer myself, although I was no good," she said.
It was mainly through her efforts during World War II that British servicemen came to bless the "Sally Anns" of the Salvation Army, who were always behind the front line to give food and drink to the troops.
At age 87, she published a book, "Catherine Booth, the Story of Her Loves." Also in her later years, Miss Bramwell-Booth became a television personality, charming talk show hosts and audiences with her wit and sprightly remarks. At 95, she was acclaimed Speaker of the Year by the Guild of Professional Toastmasters and she said, "People took me more seriously after I was 90."
Neither Miss Bramwell-Booth nor her two sisters, Olive, 96, and Dora, 94, ever married. They lived together in Finchhampstead. The two sisters survive her.
Once asked why she had never married, Miss Bramwell-Booth replied: "No one ever asked me."