Boas, Ernest George

Boas, Ernest George (Ernest)

Second Lieutenant

5th Battalion attached 13th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles

Killed in action on Saturday 1 July 1916 (aged 19)

No known grave


Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Thiepval Memorial, France (Pier and Face 15 A and 15 B)

Royal Belfast Academical Institution (RBAI)

Campbell College Belfast

Clifton College Bristol

Royal Belfast Golf Club, Holywood

Malone Golf Club

Queen’s University Belfast (War Memorial)

Queen’s University Belfast (Book of Remembrance)

Journey of Remembering Belfast Book of Honour


Ernest George Boas is commemorated in North Down in the Royal Belfast Golf Club, Holywood.

Ernest George Boas was born on 14 June 1897 at Glenart, Windsor Park, Belfast and he was the only son of Ernest Alexander Boas and Maria (May) Lloyd Boas (nee Burnett) who were married on 7 May 1895 in First Belfast Presbyterian Church.  Ernest Alexander Boas from Lennoxvale, Belfast was a merchant and he was a son of Hermann Boas, a merchant.  Maria Lloyd Burnett from Malone Road Belfast was a daughter of John R. Burnett, a merchant.

Ernest Boas Senior was a linen manufacturer and in 1901 the family was living in Princetown Road, Bangor.

In 1911 they were living at Dunbarton, 10 Derryvolgie Avenue, Belfast.

Later the family lived at 7 College Gardens, Belfast and after Ernest Junior was killed their address was 31 Sans Souci Park, Belfast.

Ernest and Maria Boas had four children:

Katherine (Kathleen, born 21 June 1896 at 64 Botanic Avenue, Belfast)

Ernest George (born 14 June 1897 at Glenart, Windsor Park, Belfast)

Caroline Beatrice (born 7 April 1899 at 10 Windsor Park, Belfast)

Maud Hope Lloyd (Madge, born 8 February 1903 at 28 Elmwood Avenue, Belfast).

Ernest’s father died on 16 January 1925 (aged 57) and his mother died on 3 July 1951 (aged 81).

Both were buried in Belfast City Cemetery (Glenalina Extension) in Graves B 95 and B 96 respectively.

Ernest Boas was educated at Royal Belfast Academical Institution (RBAI), Campbell College, Belfast and Clifton College, Bristol.

At these schools he was a member of the Officers’ Training Corps (OTC) and on 8 March 1915 he joined the Queen’s University Belfast OTC.

Ernest Boas worked in the Loopbridge Weaving Factory which his father owned.

In June 1915 he obtained his commission in the Special Reserve of Officers.

He served with the 5th Royal Irish Rifles and was sent to the Front in May 1916 where he was attached to the 13th Battalion of the same regiment.

Second Lieutenant Ernest George Boas (aged 19) was initially reported wounded and missing on 1 July 1916 but later it was officially confirmed that he must be presumed to have been killed in action on that date.

Sergeant Arnold of the Royal Irish Rifles stated:  “At 7.30 am on 1 July 1916, at Thiepval Wood, I advanced with No 3 Platoon 13th Royal Irish Rifles, of which Second Lieutenant Boas was in command. Between the 2nd and 3rd trenches, I found Second Lieutenant Boas lying in a communication trench.  As he was my platoon officer I recognized him at once. He must have been hit by hand grenades as they were landing very thick and we lost a lot of men at that place. I believed him to be dead as he never moved or spoke, but I put him on the fire step and then advanced on; when we retired back Second Lieutenant Boas was not lying where we left him, and the trench had been blown in, in two or three places; he could not have been taken prisoner as no Germans except prisoners under escort got through and I firmly believe he was blown to pieces by a shell. I should like to state that Second Lieutenant Boas led us most splendidly and did some excellent bayonet work.”

Matthew Brown of the 13th Royal Irish Rifles wrote the following on 25th July 1916:  “I’m sorry I cannot inform you as you would like, I saw the young Lieutenant before we mounted the parapet but never since. I heard some of the men in his platoon, those who returned safe, saying Lieutenant Boas knocked a German to the ground with his fist and after that he was killed. They surely have seen it happen or they would not say that.  I know his platoon got badly cut up. Sir it may be wrong, but I believe he is dead. The papers only reported him missing. It is hard, yes cruel to think of all I saw on that day. The Germans didn’t take many prisoners they would rather kill. At one time I gave up all hope and when I think to day of July 1st it’s a mystery that I’m living. I am away from my Battalion at present but when I get back I shall ask the lads who saw him, then I may be able to inform you much better.”
Lance Corporal Watterson of the 13th Royal Irish Rifles wrote the following on 8th August 1916:  “Lieutenant Boas was in A Company in command of 4th Platoon. I saw him in the second line German trench at about 11am on July 1st.  The platoons were all mixed up and we were attacking the enemy who were bombing us. We were using the bayonet. Lieutenant Boas had a rifle and bayonet. I got wounded just as we reached the communication trench and did not see Lieutenant Boas afterwards.”

Second Lieutenant Ernest George Boas has no known grave and he is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial in France; in the Royal Belfast Academical Institution (RBAI); in Campbell College Belfast; in Clifton College Bristol; in the Royal Belfast Golf Club, Holywood; in Malone Golf Club; in Queen’s University Belfast (War Memorial); in the Queen’s University Belfast (Book of Remembrance) and in the Journey of Remembering Belfast Book of Honour.