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James Boyd (1895-1916)

From West Hartlepool, served with 18th Battalion DLI (Durham Pals), killed at Serre, 1 July 1916

James Boyd was born in West Hartlepool in 1895. In 1911, at the time of the census, his father was a blacksmith, whilst his mother ran a small grocers and general dealers in West Hartlepool. James worked for his mother in the shop.

In 1914, James enlisted in the 18th Battalion Durham Light Infantry – the Durham Pals. After service in Egypt, 18 DLI moved to the Western Front and fought on the first day of the Battle of the Somme. Private James Boyd was killed in the fighting at Serre and his body was not recovered from the battlefield.

Remarkably, a local military historian walking across the Serre battlefield many decades after James’ death discovered his brass button stick partly protruding from the soil, presumably close to where he fell and brought to the surface by a plough in later years.

Civil Parish: West Hartlepool

Birth date: 1895

Death date: 1-Jul-1916

Armed force/civilian: Army

Residence: 1 Raby Place, West Hartlepool (1911 Census)
4 William Street, West Hartlepool

Employment: 1911 Census: Working as an assistant in his mother’s glass and china shop in West Hartlepool.

Family: 1911 Census: father, John William, blacksmith, born Middlesbrough; mother, Elizabeth, grocer and general dealer; plus four children (including James).

Military service:

18/689 Private, 18th Battalion DLI, 1914-16.

Medal(s): 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal.

Memorial(s): Thiepval Memorial to the Missing, France.

Gender: Male

Contributed by John Sheen | Durham County Record Office

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