CWG: Private Henry Boyce

Private Henry Boyce

Henry Leslie Boyce was born on 14th June 1872 in the parish of St Michael, in Barbados, then the British West Indies. His parents were Samuel and Mary Boyce.

Further details of his early life are scant, but Henry appears to have moved to England at some point in the early 1890s. The 1911 census shows him living in Ilford, Essex, and working as an iron and metal merchant. His wife Rosanna, a dressmaker, was born in Wincanton, Somerset, and they married in 1896. The young couple had two children; sadly they both died young.

Henry was quick to do his duty when war broke out, joining up in September 1914. He enlisted in the British West Indies Regiment, and after training on the home front, served in France from April 1917. While there, he was promoted to Acting Corporal, but contracted bronchial pneumonia and was sent back to England to recuperate after only five months.

A medical report from November 1917 states that Acting Corporal Boyce remained unfit for military service, and he was discharged from the army at the end of that year. The same report showed him as a former commercial traveller, living in Forest Gate. It marks him as having a very good military character – “Judging from his records, he is a steady, sober, well-conducted man“.

While no information after that point is available for him, it seems that he succumbed to the disease less than a year later.

Henry Leslie Boyce died on 24th October 1918. He was 46 years old.

He lies at rest in the graveyard of St Leonard’s Church in Butleigh, Somerset; presumably close to his widow’s family.


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