Boal, William (served as McHugh, William)
No. 3356, 1st Battalion, Scots Guards
Died of heart failure in Gottingen Prisoner-of-War Camp on Thursday 18 May 1916
Niederzwehren Cemetery, Kassel, Germany (Grave IX. F. 8)
Newtownards and District War Memorial
Presbyterian Church in Ireland (PCI) Roll of Honour 1914 – 1919 for
Greenwell Street Presbyterian Church Newtownards
Family grave headstone in Movilla Cemetery, Newtownards
On his marriage certificate it is recorded that William Boal, who served as William McHugh, was a son of John Boal, a soldier (deceased). William Boal was working as a labourer in an iron works when he and Mary Jane Hanna were married on 12 November 1902 in Greenwell Street Presbyterian Church Newtownards. Mary Jane Hanna from Newtownards was a daughter of James Hanna, a labourer.
William and Mary Jane Boal had at least five children:
William (born 5 February 1908 in Balfour Street, Newtownards; died 1 August 1984)
Mary (born 15 May 1909 in Balfour Street, Newtownards)
James Hanna (born 15 November 1910 in Balfour Street, Newtownards)
Ernest Hanna (born 27 January 1913 in Balfour Street, Newtownards; died 8 August 1945)
John Hanna (born 29 January 1915 in Balfour Street, Newtownards)
Three of the children were baptised in Greenwell Street Presbyterian Church
The 4 March 1916 edition of the Newtownards Chronicle carried an article under the headline Crown Princess of Sweden and a Newtownards Scots Guardsman.
Her Royal Highness the Crown Princess of Sweden was the daughter of Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught, third son of Queen Victoria and in the article it was reported that Private William Boal whose wife and children lived at 11 Balfour Street and who had 17 years’ service in the Scots Guards had been taken prisoner and was being held in Gottingen Prisoner-of-War Camp.
The report carried a quotation from a letter received by Mrs Boal:
‘The Crown Princess of Sweden wishes to let you know that she sends your husband, Private William Boal, Scots Guards, frequent parcels to Gottingen, which he seems most grateful for. He asked the Crown Princess to let you know this and that he is well’.
On 15 July 1916 the Newtownards Chronicle published a letter from Private Vester Viney (No. 7958) of the 1st Wiltshire Regiment to Mary Jane Boal in which he informed her that her husband, William Boal (No. 3356) Scots Guards, had died from heart failure.
Private Vester Viney was also being held in Gottingen Prisoner-of-War Camp
In the 2 September 1916 edition of the Newtownards Chronicle it was reported that Guardsman W McHugh (No. 3356) Scots Guards who was previously reported as missing was now reported died as a Prisoner-of-War.
Guardsman William Boal who enlisted in Hamilton Lanark and served as William McHugh died on 18 May 1916 and was buried in Niederzwehren Cemetery, Germany. He is commemorated on Newtownards and District War Memorial and in the Presbyterian Church in Ireland (PCI) Roll of Honour 1914 – 1919 for Greenwell Street Presbyterian Church Newtownards.
Private Vester Viney died on 13 November 1918 and he too was buried in Niederzwehren Cemetery.
William Boal’s widow, Mary Jane, died on 21 October 1941 and was buried in Movilla Cemetery Newtownards.
From his Army service papers it is known that William Boal enlisted as William Hugh on 21 April 1900 in Hamilton, Scotland and in his attestation papers it is recorded that he was born in County Down, in the Parish of Belfast; he was a farm servant aged 19 years and three months (estimated date of birth: January 1881). He was 5 feet 9½ inches tall with a fresh complexion, grey eyes, and fair hair. He had a scar on the left side of his chest and nape of neck. He served at Home until 15 January 1902, was posted to Africa on 16 January and was there until 4 October 1902. He was awarded the Queen’s Medal with three clasps (Cape Colony, Orange Free State, Transvaal) and the South Africa Medal with 1902 clasp. He served for seven years until 21 April 1907 and reengaged for four years on 21 April 1912. He went to France on 5 October 1914 and was reported missing on 28 October 1914. Later it was officially confirmed that he had been taken prisoner and transported to Germany. After the war, his widow requested the authorities to ‘put his right name, Boal, on his medals’.
At the time of writing it has not been possible to confirm William Boal’s date of birth.