Boyd, John (No. 790538)

Boyd, John


No. 790538, 47th Battalion, Canadian Infantry (Western Ontario Regiment)

Killed in action on Monday 7 May 1917 (aged 39)

No known grave


Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Vimy Memorial, France

Canadian Virtual War Memorial (CVWM)

Canadian First World War Book of Remembrance

Brother of Quartermaster Sergeant Andrew Boyd

Cousin of Company Sergeant Major Francis McMath (No. 57550)


The death of Private John Boyd (No. 790538) was reported in the 9 June 1917 edition of the Newtownards Chronicle under the headline Newtownards Men Make the Supreme Sacrifice.

The death of Private James Martin from Newtownards was also reported in the same article.

John Boyd was born on 22 October 1877 in Slaney Park, Co Wicklow; at attestation he declared 22 October 1881 in Baltinglass (spelt Belgintlass), Co Wicklow.  He was a son of Andrew and Jane Boyd (nee Adams) who were married on 20 January 1871 in Carrowdore Presbyterian Church.  Andrew Boyd, a labourer from Drumfad, was a son James Boyd, a labourer.  Jane Adams from Ballyrawer was a daughter of William Adams, a farmer.

After getting married, Andrew Boyd worked as a gardener and the Boyd family moved to County Wicklow.  Andrew and Jane Boyd (nee Adams) had at least eleven children:

James (born 8 December 1871 in Slaney Park, Co Wicklow)

Andrew (born 14 December 1872 in Redwells, Kiltegan, Baltinglass, Co Wicklow)

William (born 8 June 1874 in Slaney Park, Co Wicklow)

Margaret (born 15 April 1876 in Slaney Park, Co Wicklow; married James McMath)

John (born 22 October 1877 in Slaney Park, Co Wicklow; at attestation he declared 22 October 1881)

Mary (born 18 January 1880 in Slaney Park, Co Wicklow)

Jane (born 13 December 1881 in Slaney Park, Co Wicklow)

Anne (born 30 June 1883 in Slaney Park, Co Wicklow)

Esther (born 1 October 1885 in Kilmurry, Co Wicklow)

Agnes (born 17 February 1887 in Kilmurry, Co Wicklow)

Henry (born 6 November 1888 in Kilmurry, Co Wicklow)

In 1901 Andrew and Jane Boyd (nee Adams) were living at Castle Ellen, Aughrim, Co Galway.  They moved from there to Ballyhaskin, Millisle and Andrew died of Bright’s Disease on 11 December 1902 (aged 58).  His son Andrew was with him when he died.

The widowed Jane Boyd (nee Adams) moved to 61 Church Street Newtownards and she was living there when she received a letter from Canadian military authorities informing her about her son Andrew’s death in Canada.  Quartermaster Sergeant Andrew Boyd died on 13 April 1916 (aged 43).

When John Boyd enlisted on 5 February 1916 at New Westminster, British Columbia, Canada, it was noted that he was 5 feet 11 inches tall with a medium complexion, grey eyes, and brown hair.  He had a scar on the calf of his left leg.  Prior to enlistment he had been working as a labourer.

Private John Boyd (No. 790538) went to England and then France in November 1916 and he made his will on 4 March 1917; he left his property and effects to his wife, Sarah Boyd, of 425 Alberta Street, Sapperton, New Westminster (previously Sarah lived at 330 Strand Avenue, Sapperton).  Later Sarah lived in John Street, Ballymoney, Co Antrim.

On 12 March 1917 Private John Boyd (No. 790538) sustained severe head injuries when he was struck accidentally by a bomb thrown by Private G. Harmer (No. 781131) during bomb throwing practice.

Private John Boyd (No. 790538) was killed in action on 7 May 1917, has no known grave and is commemorated on the Vimy Memorial in France.

Private George Thomas Harmer (No. 781131) served with the 2nd Canadian Mounted Rifles Battalion and he was killed in action on 11 April 1918 (aged 31).  He was buried in Thelus Military Cemetery, France.

Jane Boyd (nee Adams) died of heart disease on 10 May 1917 (aged 72), just three days after her son John died.

At the time of John’s death his brother, William Boyd, was living at 61 Church Street, Newtownards.