Diamond War Memorial Project

Private James (Jim) Boyd

'B' Company, 10th Battalion Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers Regimental Number 15341
Born: ---- Died: 1916-03-10 Aged: 20 Enlisted: Londonderry

Interred in Authuile Military Cemetery, Somme, France. Name commemorated on the Diamond War Memorial.

Brother of Samuel Boyd, 8, Mary Street, Londonderry. Second son of Thomas Boyd, 32, Edenmore Street, Londonderry.

Jim Boyd was a member of Second Derry (Strand Road) Presbyterian Church.

After completing a course of training, he was granted a short furlough to see his friends, and a short time afterwards was transferred with his comrades to France. An elder brother, Sergeant Jack Boyd, also served with the 10th Battalion.

The following sentiments were contained in a letter written by an officer to Private Boyd's father after his son's death ? Dear Sir ? You will have heard of the death of your son, J. Boyd, and I write to offer you my deep sympathy, which is also felt by all the company. He died bravely doing his duty for his country, and was one of a company which behaved like old soldiers in their first big test. During that night it might have been anyone's lot, and all were ready to die for their country. He is buried along with his brave comrades in a pretty valley behind the company's lines, and when we pass we will all think of him.

Referring to the death of Private Jim Boyd, the chaplain, Reverend Jackson Wright, B.A., in a letter to Reverend J.Carson Greer, M.A., Strand Road Presbyterian Church, said ? ' I am sorry to say that J. Boyd 15339 was killed on Friday, 10th March, by shrapnel in a very hard artillery attack. He was killed in a second, and so far as is known his death was painless. We are very sorry to lose him, as he was not only a good soldier but a favourite of his comrades, and his officer bears willing testimony to his good qualities and willingness to undertake duty. We had a simple funeral service on Saturday evening in a cemetery specially reserved for British soldiers. I will be grateful if you offer my sincere sympathy to his relatives and assure them how much we regret this loss. The grave is marked by a cross, with his name and rank, erected by his comrades, and, in addition, the position is carefully marked on a map and a duplicate registration made at General Headquarters. We lost another fine lad named Braid, and if you tell his brother of our sorrow I will be grateful.'

The above letter caused some initial confusion, as the Reverend Wright gave J. Boyd's regimental number as 15339, a number that actually belonged to a Private E. Boyd, who was reported at the time as wounded. Several other letters gave the name of Private J. Boyd killed, and described his death as instantaneous. It was quickly concluded back in Londonderry that the chaplain had made a mistake in regard to the regimental number.

Shortly after the death of James Boyd, his parents, sisters and brothers placed the following lines in a Derry newspaper:

'We mourn the loss of our dear son,

So good, so kind, so brave,

Who died on the battlefields of France,

And lies in a hero's grave.

He'll never see another fight,

His earthly conflict's past,

For, folded in the Saviour's arms,

He's safe, safe home at last.'

Private Jim Boyd had been a member of Second Derry Boys' Brigade, and at their annual military display, which took place in Londonderry's Guildhall, on Tuesday, April 4, 1916, the Reverend Carson Greer said they were 'proud of those of their number who had gone forth at the call of King and country,' and made reference to the 'great sacrifice' Jim Boyd, who had been with them two years previously at the annual display, made 'the week before last.'

The name of Jim Boyd was read aloud during a special memorial service held in First Derry Presbyterian Church, on Friday, August 4, 1916, to pay tribute to the Presbyterian soldiers of the city of Londonderry, who had died during the first two years of the Great War.

Thomas, James, Jack and Jane Boyd, 32, Edenmore Street, all signed the Ulster Solemn League and Covenant (September 1912) pledging resistance to Home Rule for Ireland.