Our Lost Soldiers


Elizabeth Grieve contacted me recently saying, “I was doing some family research recently on my extended family’s war dead from World War One and I got to thinking of those buried in our local cemetery, who died at home and probably have no family locally to visit their graves. Between 1914-1918 the Commonwealth War Graves Commission are commemorating those who lost their lives on the various battlefields throughout Europe and Africa and whose 100th anniversaries occur during this time.

Our parish of Blantyre have 3 such soldiers who are buried within the High Blantyre cemetery, the writing on their headstones becoming worn down through bad weather over nearly 100 years, however I just wanted to commemorate their memories by giving a little insight to their families and their lives before they came to a tragic end on home soil. It is, during this time, the country as a whole, lost a whole generation of young men.”

Over the next couple of days, Blantyre Project will be featuring Elizabeth’s research into these 3 brave men. Today, is the turn of Captain James Boyd.

James Boyd was born on 14 June 1896 in Bellshill to Edward Boyd and his wife Ellen Jane Stewart, both from Ireland and married on 19 April 1895 in Ahogill, County Antrim. Research has found that the couple had 6 children, including James, including Agnes born in 1900, Lizzie born 1903, Ellen Jane born 1906, Thomas born 1908 and Edward born 1909. According to the 1911 census, the family were living in Bothwell although James’s mother and a few siblings are not mentioned on this census.

James enlisted with the Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) in Blantyre and served with the 5th battalion under service number 202141. Having read part of the War Diary for the Cameronians at that time it is hard to say which part of the fighting James Boyd was injured in before being sent home from the front but it looks likely that he was involved in some fighting in Belgium. His sad ending occurred in the run up to the end of the first world war. James Boyd died on 7th August 1918 and was just 22 years old and was not married.

His parents were listed as living at 7 Waterloo Row, Blantyre at the time of his death, hence why he is buried in the Blantyre Cemetery. He is buried with his grandfather Samuel Stewart who died in 1931 aged 70 years.

His siblings however, went on to marry with his sister Agnes marrying in 1919 to Thomas Currie, Lizzie married in 1920 to John McWhinnie, Ellen Jane married in 1931 to William Farrell, his brother Edward married in 1930 to Mary McCash but at the time of writing, I cannot find a marriage for Thomas Boyd. James’s father, Edward Boyd died in Blantyre in 1946 with his wife Ellen Jane passing away in Lesmahagow in 1953.

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